This study used the 2013-2014 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) dataset to examine, on one hand, the sociodemographic characteristics associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) and, on the other hand, the relationship between IPV and use of maternal health care (place of delivery and ANC visits). The study was based on 6,087 women, age 15-49, who were interviewed as part of the domestic violence module of the ZDHS. They reported having been in an intimate relationship previously and giving birth in the five years preceding the survey. Data were analysed using STATA 13.
The study found that women’s characteristics, including marital status, household wealth, witnessing parental violence, and attitudes justifying wife beating, were significantly associated with reporting experience of IPV, after adjusting for educational attainment, occupation, alcohol
consumption, area of residence, and other socio-economic factors. Partner characteristics significantly associated with IPV were alcohol consumption and controlling behaviour.
IPV is only significantly associated with maternal delivery in a health facility at the bivariate level of analysis. It is not significantly associated with use of maternal health care after adjusting for area of residence, mother’s age for the most recent birth, birth order, educational attainment, and wealth.
The study indicates that gender inequality and problematic cultural norms that privilege men with power over women still exist in Zambia, and thus IPV preventive strategies should incorporate a way to adjust such cultural norms, not only to increase the use of maternal health services but also to enhance the welfare of women.