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Who delivers where? The effect of obstetric risk on facility delivery in East Africa
Authors: Virgo S, Gon G, Cavallaro FL, Graham W, and Woodd S
Source: Tropical Medicine and International Health, 22(9):1081-1098. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12910
Topic(s): Delivery care
Maternal health
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: SEP 2017
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: Skilled attendance at birth is key for the survival of pregnant women. This study investigates whether women at increased risk of maternal and newborn complications in four East African countries are more likely to deliver in a health facility than those at lower risk. METHODS: Demographic and Health Survey data for Kenya 2014, Rwanda 2014-15, Tanzania 2015-16 and Uganda 2011 were used to study women with a live birth in the three years preceding the survey. A three-level obstetric risk index was created using known risk factors. Generalised linear Poisson regression was used to investigate the association between obstetric risk and facility delivery. RESULTS: We analysed data from 13 119 women across the four countries of whom 42-45% were considered at medium risk and 12-17% at high risk, and the remainder were at low risk. In Rwanda, 93% of all women delivered in facilities but this was lower (59-66%) in the other three countries. There was no association between a woman's obstetric risk level and her place of delivery in any country; greater wealth and more education were, however, independently strongly associated with facility delivery. CONCLUSIONS: In four East African countries, women at higher obstetric risk were not more likely to deliver in a facility than those with lower risk. This calls for a renewed focus on antenatal risk screening and improved communication on birth planning to ensure women with an increased chance of maternal and newborn complications are supported to deliver in facilities with skilled care. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. KEYWORDS: Africa; Afrique; atención de riego; austral; care risk; eastern; embarazo; grossesse; pregnancy; prenatal; prénatal; risque des soins; África del este