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Maternal health care in five Sub-Saharan African countries

Emmanuel O. Tawiah, University of Ghana

This paper examines inequalities in access to maternal health care services and identifies demographic and socio-economic factors associated with poor maternal health outcomes using data from five Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in Ghana (2003), Kenya (2003), Nigeria (2003), Uganda (2000-2001) and Zambia (2001-2002). The six maternal health care indicators show that rural women are more disadvantaged than urban women. Home deliveries comprise more than half of total births. In general, Nigerian women experience poorer maternal health outcomes than women in the other four countries. Level of education, type of residence and partner's occupation emerge as the most important predictors of inadequate antenatal care, institutional delivery and current use of any contraceptive method. Female education, at least, beyond secondary level holds the key to human and sustainable socio-economic development. Equitable distribution of infrastructure, social amenities and health facilities will enhance maternal health and care particularly of rural women.

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Presented in Poster Session 4