Beyond the numbers of maternal near-miss in Rwanda - a qualitative study on women's perspectives on access and experiences of care in early and late stage of pregnancy

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016 Sep 2;16(1):257. doi: 10.1186/s12884-016-1051-4.


Background: Rwanda has made remarkable progress in decreasing the number of maternal deaths, yet women still face morbidities and mortalities during pregnancy. We explored care-seeking and experiences of maternity care among women who suffered a near-miss event during either the early or late stage of pregnancy, and identified potential health system limitations or barriers to maternal survival in this setting.

Methods: A framework of Naturalistic Inquiry guided the study design and analysis, and the 'three delays' model facilitated data sorting. Participants included 47 women, who were interviewed at three hospitals in Kigali, and 14 of these were revisited in their homes, from March 2013 to April 2014.

Results: The women confronted various care-seeking barriers depending on whether the pregnancy was wanted, the gestational age, insurance coverage, and marital status. Poor communication between the women and healthcare providers seemed to result in inadequate or inappropriate treatment, leading some to seek either traditional medicine or care repeatedly at biomedical facilities.

Conclusion: Improved service provision routines, information, and amendments to the insurance system are suggested to enhance prompt care-seeking. Additionally, we strongly recommend a health system that considers the needs of all pregnant women, especially those facing unintended pregnancies or complications in the early stages of pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Maternal Health Services / economics
  • Near Miss, Healthcare*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Prenatal Care / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rwanda
  • Young Adult