Back to browse results
Association between intimate partner violence and the use of maternal health care services among married Malawian women
Authors: Praise W. Magombo, Peter A. M. Ntenda, and Owen Nkoka
Source: BMC Women's Health, Volume 21, Article number: 173; DOI:
Topic(s): Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Maternal health
Service utilization
Country: Africa
Published: APR 2021
Abstract: Background: Maternal and child health care (MCH) services aim at improving the overall health outcomes of both the mother and newborn. Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been linked with poor health outcomes and under usage of MCH services. In Malawi, IPV is a persistent problem, while MCH services’ uptake remains a constant challenge. However, there is limited information on the association between IPV and MCH services in Malawi. The study examined the association between IPV and the use of MCH services among married Malawian women. Methods: The 2015–16 Malawi demographic and health survey was used to analyze the association of IPV and the use of MCH services among 2712 married Malawian women. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate the strength of association. Results: Approximately 41.4% of the women reported experiencing IPV. Specifically, 27.8%, 19.3%, and 23.6% reported experiencing physical, sexual, and emotional violence, respectively. Women who reported experiencing any form of IPV had a 34% reduced likelihood of delivering at a health facility [adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 0.66; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.46–0.96] or were 36% less likely [aOR: 0.64; 95% CI 0.46–0.90] to have had skilled assistance during delivery compared to those who never experienced IPV. Conclusion: IPV was associated with MCH services use, specifically delivery at a health facility and skilled birth attendants. The high prevalence of IPV underscores the need to design effective programs to raise awareness regarding IPV and reduce IPV. Reducing IPV may be a promising means to support a more integrated and sustainable approach to improve the use of MCH services.