Factors associated with the utilisation of maternal health services in Uganda: A case study of Arua District
This study was carried out with the objective of examining the factors that are associated with the use of antenatal services in Arua District. The study used descriptive and cross-sectional research designs based on primary data. Both quantitative and qualitative research data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and interview guides. A total of 165 who had experienced birth a year prior to the study respondents were interviewed. The relationship between the utilisation of antenatal care and associated factors was analysed using the Pearson’s chi square and logistic regression. The study found out that: Only 38% of mothers attend antenatal care four or more times as recommended, with 62% of mothers initiating antenatal visits in the second trimester of pregnancy. Cost of antenatal services negatively affects the utilisation of antenatal care (OR =11). The physical accessibility of antenatal care facilities had a strong bearing on the utilisation of antenatal care (OR =2.39). Attitudes were strongly associated with the utilisation of antenatal care (OR =2.56). Maternal age, level of education and place of residence are also related to the utilisation of antenatal care. The study concludes that cost, attitudes, and physical access persistently affect the use of antenatal services in Arua District. The study recommends improving maternal health education and information and its provision by the Government and other stakeholders. And changing the packaging of maternal health education to emphasise the harmfulness of social and cultural beliefs and practices related to pregnancy with the objective of dispelling such misconceptions. This will to improve attitudes towards use of antenatal health care. The need to ensure that all the antenatal care services are available in all health units and provision of more health facilities that offer antenatal services so that mothers are not deterred by poor accessibility to antenatal care facilities.