A study on the utilization of maternal health services in Ejisu district of Ghana was carried out in January and February 1990. 1200 women aged between 15 and 49 were interviewed in 80 communities. The findings of the study indicated that over 50% of respondents married under 20 years, 70% of them attended antenatal clinic at least 4 times in their last pregnancy, over 80% had their last delivery in a health facility and over 80% knew about at least one modern method of family planning. Only 5.5% were currently using a modern family planning method. 90% of them were willing to stay in a maternity waiting home if advised to do so. Most would be prepared to stay for a month or 2. 20% of the respondents knew about local herbal preparations used for first aid in bleeding in pregnancy, although they would seek definitive treatment at a health facility. From the study, some women were not using the services. These would have to be reached through improving the quality of care in health facilities and increasing community awareness on maternal health in order to improve accessibility and utilization further.
PIP: This operations research project on the use of maternal health care services in Ejisu district in Ghana was performed during January and February 1990. The sample was comprised of 1200 women from 80 communities (population 131,199 persons in 1984) in the district, which has 19 health facilities (a Catholic mission hospital, 8 government health centers, 5 mission clinics, and 3 private maternity homes serving a population in 160 communities). Retrospective data was collected on health service use during January 1985-December 1989. Characteristics of the sample population included 59% 20-34 years old, 11% younger than 20, and 33% with no formal education. 37.9% were farmers, 26.7% were housewives, and 25% were traders. 74% were married. 50.3% married before the age of 20. 70.9% made at least 4 visits for prenatal care before their last pregnancy. 17.3% did not receive any prenatal care. 33.3% delivered at a health center. 28% used a Government Maternity Home, 22% used a hospital, and 13% relied on traditional birth attendants at home. 29% (349 women) reported complaints during their last pregnancy. 85.5% knew at least 1 method of contraception. 5.5% were current users of modern contraception, of which the pill was the most popular (45.4% of users). Treatment for bleeding during pregnancy was reported by 16.7% of the sample to involve eating a ripe banana or a banana in combination with cassava products. External use of plantain leaves or sanitary pads was also mentioned. These treatments were considered as first aid and not definitive treatment. 90% indicated a willingness to stay in a maternity waiting home if advised to do so. 58% would be able to stay 1 month, 21% would stay 2 months, and 21% would stay 3 or more months. Effective community education and social mobilization is still needed in order to attract those not using services.