Antenatal care strengthening for improved health behaviours in Jimma, Ethiopia, 2009-2011: An effectiveness study

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INTRODUCTION: health systems in low-income settings are not sufficiently reaching the poor, and global disparities in reproductive health persist. The frequency and quality of health education during antenatal care is often low. Further studies are needed on how to improve the performance of health systems in low income settings to improve maternal and child health.

OBJECTIVES: to assess the effectiveness of a participatory antenatal care intervention on health behaviours and to illuminate how the different socioeconomic groups responded to the intervention in Jimma, Ethiopia. SETTING, INTERVENTION AND MEASUREMENTS: an intervention was designed participatorily and comprised trainings, supervisions, equipment, health education material, and adaption of guidelines. It was implemented at public facilities. Household surveys, before (2008) and after (2010) intervention, were conducted amongst all women who had given birth within the previous 12 months. The effect of the intervention was assessed by comparing the change in health behaviours (number of antenatal visits, health facility delivery, breast feeding, preventive infant health check, and infant immunisation) from before to after the intervention period at intervention sites, relative to control sites, using logistic mixed effect regression.

RESULTS: on the basis of 1357 women included before and 2262 after the intervention, there were positive effects of the intervention on breast feeding practices (OR 3.0, 95% CI: 1.4; 3.6) and preventive infant health check (OR 2.4, 95% CI: 1.5; 3.5). There was no effect on infant immunisation coverage and negative effect on number of antenatal visits. The effect on various outcomes was modified by maternal education, and results indicate increased health facility delivery (OR 2.4, 95% CI: 0.8; 6.9) and breast feeding practices (OR 18.2, 95% CI: 5.2;63.6) among women with no education.

KEY CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: the facility based intervention improved some, but not all health behaviours. The improvements indicated amongst the most disadvantaged antenatal care attendants in breast feeding and health facility delivery are encouraging and underline the need to scale up priority of antenatal care in the effort to reduce maternal and child health inequity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 164452400