Prenatal care and childbirth weight in Uganda and Tanzania

Type Journal Article - The Ugandan Journal Of Management And Public Policy Studies
Title Prenatal care and childbirth weight in Uganda and Tanzania
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 46-66
URL _2012.pdf#page=55
About 20 million (17%) children, 95% of which are in less developed countries, are born with low birth weight. Prenatal care is widely accepted as a channel for reducing the hazard of delivering preterm or a low birth weight baby. Thisstudy set out to investigate the relationship between prenatal care components and childbirth weight for children born in the ? ve years preceding the survey. Using the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) 2006, we employed both descriptive (mainly bar charts/graphs) and the two-stage least squares (2SLS) approach to estimate the childbirth weight model. The greatest virtue of the 2SLS is its potential to control for the endogeneity and selectivity problems. The key explanatory variables included prenatal visits, prenatal care delay, tetanus immunization, and prenatal care content and we included a number of controls. The descriptive ? ndings reveal that the average childbirth weight is 3.4 in Uganda and 3.2 in Tanzania. The average number of prenatal care visits is 3.7 and 4.1 for Uganda and Tanzania, respectively. On average, women in the two countries initiate their ? rst prenatal visits at about 5 months of pregnancy. On average, Tanzanian women outperformed Ugandan counterparts in the utilization of antenatal care content. The quantitative ? ndings reveal that tetanus immunization, antenatal visits, antenatal care delay, and antenatal care content are signi? cantly associated with childbirth weight. The size and/or signi? cance of the coef? cients depends on the estimation method; hence an inappropriate estimation method may yield misleading policy conclusions. Mass dissemination of health information would close any knowledge gaps existing amongst prospective mothers concerning the importance of prenatal visits, timing and content. There is need to standardize the health information disseminated to women across all regions and locations in order to ensure that all receive the same reproductive knowledge and best practices. Establishment of village outreach clinics with quali? ed staff would help to attract the hard-to-reach women.

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