Background: In the past few decades many countries have worked to increase the number of women delivering in facilities, with the goal of improving maternal and neonatal health outcomes. The purpose of this study is to explore the current situation of facility deliveries in Africa and Asia to understand where and with whom women deliver. Furthermore, we aim to test potential drivers of facility delivery at the individual, household, and community-level.
Methods: Demographic and Health Survey data collected since 2003 from 43 countries in Africa and Asia is explored to understand the patterns of where women are delivering. We look at patterns by region and wealth quintile and urban/rural status. We then run a series of multi-level models looking at relationships between individual, household and community-level factors and the odds of a woman delivering in a facility. We explore this for Asia and Africa separately. We also look at correlates of delivery with a trained provider, in a public facility, in a private facility, with a doctor and in a hospital.
Results: The majority of women deliver in a facility and with a provider; however, about 20% of deliveries are still with no one or a friend/relative or alone. Rates of facility delivery are lower in Asia overall, and a greater proportion of deliveries take place in private facilities in Asia compared to Africa. Most of the individual level factors that have been found in past studies to be associated with delivering in a facility hold true for the multi-country-level analyses, and small differences exist between Asia and Africa. Women who deliver in private facilities differ from women who deliver in public facilities or at home.
Conclusions: Most women in Africa and Asia are delivering in a facility, and drivers of facility delivery identified in smaller level or country specific studies hold true in multi-country national level data. More data and research is needed on other drivers, especially at the country-level and relating to the quality of care and maternal health complications.