Factors affecting the utilization of antenatal care services during the covid-19 lockdown in Butagaya sub-county, jinja district
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Introduction and Background: The study focused on assessing the level of utilization of antenatal care services during the COVID-19 lockdown between May 2020 and September 2020 in Butagaya sub-county, Jinja district. The assessment had three objectives to: 1) assess the maternal related factors affecting utilization of ANC during COVID-19 period in Butagaya sub-county, Jinja district; 2) identify the socio-economic factors affecting utilization of ANC and; 3) establish the health facility factors affecting utilization of ANC during COVID-19. Methodology: The study was conducted in Butagaya sub-county, Jinja district. Study design was cross-sectional qualitative study with 22 participants who included pregnant women, women that had just given birth, CDO, LC1 leaders and health workers. Interviews were the main data collection method. Thematic analysis was done for the qualitative data collected which was read in order to look for similarities and differences and subsequently finding themes and developing categories. The patterns were developed into categories, each transcript was examined closely for phrases, sentences or paragraphs, i.e. participant’s quotes aligned with study objectives. Findings: Maternal-related factors that affected utilization of ANC during the COVID lockdown period include age, marital status, pregnancy planning, access to ANC services, timing and decision-making powers. Socio-economic factors included responsibilities, financial and moral support from partners, employment, and distance to health facilities. Health facility-related factors included waiting time, attitude of health officials, quality of ANC services and the advice by health officials to pregnant women on when to start accessing ANC services. Conclusion and Recommendations: Confirming what it established in the evidence, a combination of maternal-related, socioeconomic and health facility-related factors affected ANC utilization during the COVID-19 lockdown. Priority should be given to the health sector at full reopening of the economy, massive sensitization about the importance of ANC as well as implementation of the legal, policy and institutional framework on ANC.