Objective: to examine the structural and sociocultural factors influencing maternity waiting home (MWH) use through the lens of women, families, and communities in one rural county in postconflict Liberia.
Design: an exploratory, qualitative descriptive design using focus groups and in-depth, individual interviews was employed. Content analysis of data was performed using Penchansky and Thomas's (1981) five A's of access as a guiding framework.
Setting: rural communities in north-central Liberia.
Participants: a convenience sampling was used to recruit participants. Eight focus groups were held with 75 participants from congruent groups of (1) MWH users, (2) MWH non-users, (3) family members of MWH users, and (4) family members of MWH non-users. Eleven individual interviews were conducted with clinic staff or community leaders.
Findings: the availability of MWHs decreased the barrier of distance for women to access skilled care around the time of childbirth. Food insecurity while staying at a MWH was identified as a potential barrier by participants.
Key conclusions: examining access as a general concept within the specific dimensions of availability, accessibility, accommodation, affordability, and acceptability provides a way to describe the structural and sociocultural factors that influence access to a MWH and skilled attendance for birth.
Implications for practice: MWHs can address the barrier of distance in accessing skilled care for childbirth in a rural setting with long distances to a facility.
Keywords: Access; Maternity waiting homes; Midwifery; Safe motherhood.
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