Introduction: More efforts need to be directed to improving the quality of maternal health in developing countries if we are to keep on track with meeting the fifth millennium development goal. The World Health Organization says developing countries account for over 90% of maternal deaths of which three fifths occur in Sub-Saharan African countries like Uganda. Abortion, obstetric complications such as hemorrhage, dystocia, eclampsia, and sepsis are major causes of maternal deaths here. Good quality Antenatal Care (ANC) provides opportunity to detect and respond to risky maternal conditions. This study assessed quality of ANC services in eastern Uganda with a goal of benchmarking implications for interventions.
Methods: Data was collected from 15 health facilities in Eastern Uganda to establish capacity of delivering ANC services. Observation checklists were used to assess structural components and completeness of the ANC consultation process among 291 women attending it. Lastly, structured exit-interviews were conducted to assess satisfaction of patients. Data analysis was done in STATA Version 10.
Results: There was an overall staffing gap of over 40%, while infection control facilities, drugs and supplies were inadequate. However, there was good existence of physical infrastructure and diagnostic equipment for ANC services. It was observed that counseling for risk factors and birth preparedness was poorly done; in addition essential tests were not done for the majority of clients.
Conclusion: To improve the quality of ANC, interventions need to improve staffing, infection control facilities and drug-supplies. In addition to better counseling for risk factor-recognition and birth preparedness.
Keywords: Antenatal care; capacity; patient satisfaction; process quality.