Healthcare Seeking Behaviour of Pregnant Women in rural Amhara, Ethiopia: Perception of Healthcare Providers
Background Healthcare services utilization by pregnant women helps to improve the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and even after delivery. Various literatures show the strong association between women's utilization of antenatal care services and factors such as urban residence, partners' educational status, quality and cost of services, health beliefs, exposure to mass media, family income and service accessibility. Methods The study was conducted in South Gondar and West Gojjam
... and West Gojjam zones in Amhara region of Ethiopia. A qualitative research design using in-depth interviews was employed to explore perceptions and experiences of healthcare providers with healthcare seeking behaviour of pregnant women. Tape recordings were transcribed verbatim in Amharic (the local language in the study area) and translated back to English. Transcripts were coded and data was analyzed manually using thematic content analysis approach. Results Pregnant women were found to have a good relationship with healthcare providers. In spite of their good relationship with healthcare providers, pregnant women were not using healthcare services per Ministry of Health recommendation. Although counseling was part of the routine antenatal care service, food taboos, those foods which are strictly forbidden for health, cultural, and religious reasons, has affected women from getting the recommended nutritional requirements during pregnancy. According to the data generated from this study, screening for routine laboratory services such as sexually transmitted infections and Urinary tract infections was performed in health centers. This study has also revealed that women preferred individual antenatal care service over group antenatal care or any form of gatherings like monthly conferences. Conclusion The trust built between healthcare providers and pregnant women has impacted the healthcare seeking behaviour of women positively. Healthcare seeking behaviour of women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum was highly influenced by religious and cultural factors. The healthcare seeking behaviour of pregnant women was also highly influenced by lack of transport access to healthcare facilities.