A recent survey found that nearly one in three women in developing countries lacked access to antenatal care (ANC) at least four times during their pregnancy. The WHO’s Maternal and Neonatal Programme has challenged this approach, arguing that frequent ANC visits are difficult for women to manage and place additional strain on health systems. Additionally, frequent ANC visits do not necessarily improve pregnancy outcomes. Thus, a multi-sectoral approach is necessary to improve timely access to ANC.
Although ANC is considered an important cornerstone of maternal and neonatal health care, recent evidence indicates that lots of women start booking appointments only recently. In this context, the timing of ANC bookings is critically important, and we wanted to investigate the associated factors. The study employed an institution-based cross-sectional design and a face-to-face interview technique to assess factors associated with early ANC booking. Overall, three hundred and seventy-nine pregnant women were interviewed, and 47.4% were booked at the proper time.
In a recent study, the Sidama Region of Ethiopia assessed ANC quality. Of those women surveyed, 41.2% had received quality care, which was associated with maternal educational status, family income level, place of residence, and number of children. However, the number of ANC visits was associated with a higher number of births than the proportion of poor-quality ANC services. This study also found that ANC services did not significantly influence the likelihood of having a baby if the mother’s age, education level, and place of residence were high.
ANC quality was measured using the WHO ANC platform. This includes screening, disease prevention, communication with family members, emergency preparedness plan, and more. These variables were significant and the extent to which women received ANC services was determined by 68 attributes of quality care. The highest scores were obtained in Ethiopia and Nepal, where the prevalence of quality ANC services was 42.2%. ANC quality is an important element of pregnancy success, and the earlier the better.
While women do not always trust ANC personnel, they can benefit from a prenatal HIV test to determine if the pregnancy is HIV positive. Many women are scared of HIV testing and are hesitant to come to the health facility for ANC. ANC services can prevent unwanted pregnancies, so the study aims to address this fear. The authors encourage women to attend their appointments and educate their husbands. They should also take advantage of family planning services that can help prevent unwanted pregnancies.
The study identified four themes, nine categories, and 19 subcategories. The results of the study highlighted the multifaceted barriers that prevent women from availing of ANC services in rural Zimbabwe. A multi-sectoral approach should be pursued to promote ANC access in these settings. They recommend increasing efforts to strengthen health information dissemination, conduct ongoing workshops, and increase community outreach programs. The study concluded that this is not the only way to promote the use of ANC in rural areas.