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Factors influencing the use of maternal healthcare services and childhood immunization in Swaziland
Authors: Mluleki Tsawe, Amos Moto, Thendo Netshivhera, Lesego Ralesego, Cassandra Nyathi, and A Susuman
Source: International Journal for Equity in Health, 14:32; doi:10.1186/s12939-015-0162-2.
Topic(s): Child health
Health care utilization
Maternal health
Country: Africa
Published: MAR 2015
Abstract: Maternal and child healthcare services are very important for the health outcomes of the mother and that of the child and in ensuring that both maternal and child deaths are prevented. Studying these services is necessary in developing countries where infrastructure (which is meant to deal with these health services) is minimal or lacking. The objective of the study is to examine the factors that influence the use of maternal healthcare services and childhood immunization in Swaziland. Methods: Our study used secondary data from the Swaziland Demographic and Health Survey 2006-07. This is an explorative and descriptive study which used pre-selected variables to study factors influencing the use of maternal and child healthcare services in Swaziland. We ran three different types of analyses: univariate, bivariate and multivariate. For the multivariate analysis, a logistic regression was run to investigate the relationship between the dependent and independent variables.FindingsThe study findings showed a high use rate of antenatal care (97.3%) and delivery care (74.0%) and a low rate of postnatal care use (20.5%). The uptake of childhood immunization is also high in the country, averaging more than 80.0%. Certain factors which were found to be influencing the use of maternal healthcare and childhood immunization include: woman's age, parity, media exposure, maternal education, wealth quintile, and residence. The findings also revealed that these factors affect the use of maternal and child health services differently. Conclusion: It is important to study factors related to maternal and child health uptake to inform relevant stakeholders about possible areas of improvement. Programs to educate families about the importance of maternal and child healthcare services should be implemented. In addition, interventions should focus on: (a) age differentials in use of maternal and child health services, (b) women with higher parities, (c) women in rural areas, and (d) women from the poor quintile. We recommend that possible future studies could use the qualitative approach to study issues associated with the low use of postnatal services.