Understanding the association between maternal education and use of health services in Ghana: exploring the role of health knowledge

J Biosoc Sci. 2012 Nov;44(6):733-47. doi: 10.1017/S0021932012000041. Epub 2012 Mar 1.


This paper examines the role of health knowledge in the association between mothers' education and use of maternal and child health services in Ghana. The study uses data from a nationally representative sample of female respondents to the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. Ordered probit regression models evaluate whether women's health knowledge helps to explain use of three specific maternal and child health services: antenatal care, giving birth with the supervision of a trained professional and complete child vaccination. The analyses reveal that mothers' years of formal education are strongly associated with health knowledge; health knowledge helps explain the association between maternal education and use of health services; and, net of a set of stringent demographic and socioeconomic controls, mothers' health knowledge is a key factor associated with use of health services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Ghana
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Literacy*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*