The patient-provider relationship and antenatal care uptake at two referral hospitals in Malawi: A qualitative study

Type Journal Article - Malawi Medical Journal
Title The patient-provider relationship and antenatal care uptake at two referral hospitals in Malawi: A qualitative study
Volume 27
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 145-150
Background: In post-stroke patients, impairment of quality of life (QOL) has been associated with functional impairment, age, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Good social support, higher education, and better socioeconomic status are associated with better QOL among stroke survivors. In Africa, studies from Nigeria and Tanzania have reported on post-stroke QOL. Background: Approximately 90% of Malawian women attend antenatal care at least once during their pregnancies; however, most mothers first present during months five and six and do not adhere to the World Health Organization’s recommended four visits. The objective of this study was to explore the role the patient-provider relationship has on antenatal care uptake. Methods: A qualitative study, consisting of interviews with 20 urban pregnant mothers and eight health workers, was conducted from September to December 2014. Two large tertiary care hospitals in the Central and Southern regions of Malawi were selected as study sites. Results: Several factors influenced antenatal care attendance. Significant barriers reported included the patient-provider relationship, clinic wait times, family and friend support, distance from home to the clinic, transportation, cost, and number of visits. The patient-provider relationship appears to have a large impact on antenatal clinic participation. Mothers indicated that health workers often mistreat or demean them during visits. Additionally, health workers revealed that, due to staff shortages, patients often do not receive the care they deserve. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that, in addition to other factors, healthcare provider attitudes influence antenatal clinic attendance. Improving the patient-provider relationship may increase antenatal clinic attendance and decrease pregnancy complications during pregnancy. Professional development opportunities and quality improvement programmes are would help improve patient care and health outcomes while the continued staff shortages in the country are addressed.

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