Continuum of care for maternal and child health and child undernutrition in Angola

BMC Public Health. 2024 Mar 4;24(1):680. doi: 10.1186/s12889-024-18144-2.


Background: Continuum of care (CoC) for maternal and child health provides opportunities for mothers and children to improve their nutritional status, but many children remain undernourished in Angola. This study aimed to assess the achievement level of CoC and examine the association between the CoC achievement level and child nutritional status.

Methods: We used nationally representative data from the Angola 2015-2016 Multiple Indicator and Health Survey. Completion of CoC was defined as achieving at least four antenatal care visits (4 + ANC), delivery with a skilled birth attendant (SBA), child vaccination at birth, child postnatal check within 2 months (PNC), and a series of child vaccinations at 2, 4, 6, 9 and 15 months of child age. We included under 5 years old children who were eligible for child vaccination questionnaires and their mothers. The difference in CoC achievement level among different nutritional status were presented using the Kaplan-Meier method and examined using the Log-Lank test. Additionally, the multivariable logistic regression analysis examined the associations between child nutritional status and CoC achievement levels.

Results: The prevalence of child stunting, underweight and wasting was 48.3%, 23.2% and 5.9% respectively. The overall CoC completion level was 1.2%. The level of achieving CoC of mother-child pairs was 62.8% for 4 + ANC, 42.2% for SBA, 23.0% for child vaccination at birth, and 6.7% for PNC, and it continued to decline over 15 months. The Log-Lank test showed that there were significant differences in the CoC achievement level between children with no stunting and those with stunting (p < 0.001), those with no underweight and those with underweight (p < 0.001), those with no wasting and those with wasting (p = 0.003), and those with malnutrition and those with a normal nutritional status (p < 0.001). Achieving 4 + ANC (CoC1), 4 + ANC and SBA (CoC 2), and 4 + ANC, SBA, and child vaccination at birth (CoC 3) were associated with reduction in child stunting and underweight.

Conclusions: The completion of CoC is low in Angola and many children miss their opportunity of nutritional intervention. According to our result, improving care utilization and its continuity could improve child nutritional status.

Keywords: Africa; Angola; Child nutrition; Continuum of care; Lower middle-income country; Maternal and child health; Stunting; Undernutrition; Underweight.

MeSH terms

  • Angola / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Health
  • Child Nutrition Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Malnutrition*
  • Mothers
  • Pregnancy
  • Thinness / epidemiology