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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - BMC Women's Health
Title Factors influencing place of delivery for pastoralist women in Kenya: a qualitative study
Author(s)
Volume 16
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 52
URL https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-016-0333-3
Abstract
Background
Kenya’s high maternal mortality ratio can be partly explained by the low proportion of women delivering in health facilities attended by skilled birth attendants (SBAs). Many women continue to give birth at home attended by family members or traditional birth attendants (TBAs). This is particularly true for pastoralist women in Laikipia and Samburu counties, Kenya. This paper investigates the socio-demographic factors and cultural beliefs and practices that influence place of delivery for these pastoralist women.

Methods
Qualitative data were collected in five group ranches in Laikipia County and three group ranches in Samburu County. Fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted: seven with SBAs and eight with key informants. Nineteen focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted: four with TBAs; three with community health workers (CHWs); ten with women who had delivered in the past two years; and two with husbands of women who had delivered in the past two years. Topics discussed included reasons for homebirths, access and referrals to health facilities, and strengths and challenges of TBAs and SBAs. The data were translated, transcribed and inductively and deductively thematically analysed both manually and using NVivo.

Results
Socio-demographic characteristics and cultural practices and beliefs influence pastoralist women’s place of delivery in Laikipia and Samburu counties, Kenya. Pastoralist women continue to deliver at home due to a range of factors including: distance, poor roads, and the difficulty of obtaining and paying for transport; the perception that the treatment and care offered at health facilities is disrespectful and unfriendly; lack of education and awareness regarding the risks of delivering at home; and local cultural values related to women and birthing.

Conclusions
Understanding factors influencing the location of delivery helps to explain why many pastoralist women continue to deliver at home despite health services becoming more accessible. This information can be used to inform policy and program development aimed at increasing the proportion of facility-based deliveries in challenging settings.

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