Factors Influencing the Utilization of Antenatal Care Services Among Pregnant Mothers in Kigezi Region
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Antenatal care is one of the fundamental elements of essential obstetric care. It helps in decreasing maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity in low and middle income countries. This study aimed at understanding and assessing the different socio-economic and demographic factors influencing antenatal care utilization among women aged 15-49 in Kigezi region. The study used the 2016 UDHS female data set for women aged 15-49 years. The analysis focused on findings on 959 women to whom a woman’s questionnaire was administered. The explanatory variables included the age of the respondent, wealth index, partner’s education level, respondent’s education level, place of residence, number of living children/current pregnancy and the age of the household head. The dependent variable was antenatal health care utilization. According to the results of the study, approximately 60.08% of the respondents attended to at least four antenatal care visits while 39.92% did not utilize antenatal care services as recommended. According to the results of the study in Table 4.3, factors that were found to be influencing the utilization of antenatal care were wealth index (p=0.017), partner’s education level (p=0.005), number of living children (p=0.003) and household head’s age(p=0.049). The study recommends strengthening of the provision of Information, Education and Communication on availability and access of antenatal care services as an intervention to improve ANC seeking behaviours of mothers. Males should be sensitized to understand the benefits of their wives attending ANC services.There should be adoption of mobile free health services. This should especially be adopted in the rural areas where accessibility is a key challenge especially to the mothers with low wealth status. Women should further be encouraged to seek antenatal care services irrespective of the experience they have in giving birth. This helps them to obtain information and advice regarding delivery and other pregnancy issues.