Factors associated with antenatal care utilization among unmarried women in Uganda
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The 2016 UDHS revealed that only 60 percent of the respondents were found to have attended four or more ANC visits as recommended by WHO. This indicates that Uganda has a gap as regards to the achievement of the sustainable development goal (SDG) 3, target 1 of reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. This study aimed at understanding the factors influencing utilizing ANC services among unmarried women aged 15-49 in Uganda. We used the 2016 UDHS female data set for women aged 15-49 years. We focused and analysed3 Findings on 20,880 women to whom a woman’s questionnaire was administered and responded to the question “Did you see anyone for ANC?” The explanatory variables were; the age of the respondent, wealth status, woman’s education level, religion, parity, decision making, marital status, place of residence and the dependent variable was ANC utilization. 94 percent of the respondents utilized ANC at least once during their pregnancy time and only 4 percent did not utilize ANC services at all. Age of the respondent, marital status, woman’s education level, place of residence, parity and decision making significantly predicted ANC utilization at bivariate analysis. There are different major factors influencing ANC utilisation among unmarried women especially between those who are cohabitors and non- cohabitors in utilizing ANC services. Middle reproductive ages, urban residence, parity, and joint health decision making were the only key and major predictors of ANC utilization. On realizing that ANC utilization varies by type of union, the following recommendations should be adopted and implemented by government and associated stakeholders to improve the participation of unmarried women in ANC programs and services regardless of their differences in age, residence, marital status, education levels, number of children and the autonomy in decision making. ANC programs and services should focus on male inclusion and participation. Sensitization campaigns indicating the merits gotten by males supporting females or partners through providing financial and social support during pregnancy should be implemented to motivate and encourage participation of more males.