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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - PloS one
Title Home is best: Why women in rural Zimbabwe deliver in the community
Author(s)
Volume 12
Issue 8
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
URL http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0181771
Abstract
Maternal mortality in Zimbabwe has unprecedentedly risen over the last two and half decades although a decline has been noted recently. Many reasons have been advanced for the rising trend, including deliveries without skilled care, in places without appropriate or adequate facilities to handle complications. The recent decline has been attributed to health systems strengthening through a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism. On the other hand, the proportion of community deliveries has also been growing steadily over the years and in this study we investigate why. We used twelve (12) focus group discussions with child-bearing women and eight (8) key informant interviews (KIIs). Four (4) were traditional birth attendants and four (4) were spiritual birth attendants. A thematic approach was used to analyse the data in Ethnography software. The study shows that women prefer community deliveries due to perceived low economic, social and opportunity costs involved; pliant and flexible services offered; and diminishing quality and appeal of institutional maternity services. We conclude that rural women are very economic, logical and rational in making choices on place of delivery. Delivering in the community offers financial, social and opportunity advantages to disenfranchised women, particularly in remote rural areas. We recommend for increased awareness of the dangers of community deliveries; establishment of basic obstetric care facilities in the community and more efficient emergency referral systems. In the long-term, there should be a sustainable improvement of the public health delivery system to make it accessible, affordable and usable by the public.

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