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Awareness of obstetric danger signs among pregnant women in the Democratic Republic of Congo: evidence from a nationwide cross-sectional study
Authors: Dalau Mukadi Nkamba, Gilbert Wembodinga, Pierre Bernard, John Ditekemena, and Annie Robert
Source: BMC Women's Health, Volume 21, Article number: 82; DOI:
Topic(s): Antenatal care
Maternal mortality
Pregnancy outcomes
Country: Africa
  Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Published: FEB 2021
Abstract: Background: Poor awareness of obstetric danger signs is a major contributing factor to delays in seeking obstetric care and hence to high maternal mortality and morbidity worldwide. We conducted the current study to assess the level of agreement on receipt of counseling on obstetric danger signs between direct observations of antenatal care (ANC) consultation and women’s recall in the exit interview. We also identified factors associated with pregnant women’s awareness of obstetric danger signs during pregnancy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Methods: We used data from the 2017–2018 DRC Service Provision Assessment survey. Agreement between the observation and woman’s recall was measured using Cohen’s kappa statistic and percent agreement. Multivariable Zero-Inflated Poisson (ZIP) regression was used to identify factors associated with the number of danger signs during pregnancy the woman knew. Results: On average, women were aware of 1.5 ± 1.34 danger signs in pregnancy (range: 0 to 8). Agreement between observation and woman’s recall was 70.7%, with a positive agreement of 16.9% at the country level but ranging from 2.1% in Bandundu to 39.7% in Sud Kivu. Using multivariable ZIP analysis, the number of obstetric danger signs the women mentioned was significantly higher in multigravida women (Adj.IRR = 1.38; 95% CI: 1.23–1.55), in women attending a private facility (Adj.IRR = 1.15; 95% CI: 1.01–1.31), in women attending a subsequent ANC visit (Adj.IRR = 1.11; 95% CI: 1.01–1.21), and in women counseled on danger signs during the ANC visit (Adj.IRR = 1.19; 95% CI: 1.05–1.35). There was a regional variation in the awareness of danger signs, with the least mentioned signs in the middle and the most in the eastern provinces. Conclusions: Our findings indicated poor agreement between directly observed counseling and women’s reports that counseling on obstetric danger signs occurred during the current ANC visit. We found that province of residence, provision of counseling on obstetric danger signs, facility ownership, gravidity and the number of ANC visits were predictors of the awareness of obstetric danger signs among pregnant women. These factors should be considered when developing strategies aim at improving women’s awareness about obstetric danger signs in the DRC.