Barriers to Accessing Antenatal Care Services in Primary Health Care Centers in Rural Areas of Basrah Barriers to Accessing Antenatal Care Services in Primary Health Care Centers in Rural Areas of Basrah

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Jhood Abdul Samad Molan


Barriers, Antenatal Care, Primary Health Care, Basrah


Introduction: Antenatal care (ANC) includes preventive and curative care services delivered during pregnancy. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that pregnant women should receive at least four ANC visits. ANC is provided in Iraq in the public sector mainly in primary health care (PHC) centers with referral to higher care if required. Private sector contributes to ANC, both private clinics and private hospitals have outpatient services as well.

Objectives: This study aims to describe the ANC use among women attending PHC centers in Basrah, determine associations of ANC utilization rate with sociodemographic characteristics, and ascertain barriers to the utilization of ANC services at the PHC centers in Basrah

Methods: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study carried out among 322 mothers (with children aged below two years) attending four PHC facilities in rural areas of Basrah. Data was collected through direct interview of the mothers by the investigator.

Results: The study found that 15.8% of the mothers in rural areas of Basrah made no ANC visits to the PHC centers, 44.8% had between one to three visits, and just over one third received the recommended four or more ANC visits (39.4%). The study found significant association of ANC services utilization in PHC centers with number of children, mother’s occupation, family income and woman’s desire for pregnancy (p < 0.05). The most reported barriers by mothers to availing ANC services included: preference of private medical care, difficult to leave elder children, no one accompany, laziness, ignorance, forgetfulness, lack of authorization by husband, distance to health center, health-related barrier and transportation barrier.

Conclusion: This study found that ANC services in PHC centers were underutilized. Intervention aimed at raising women’s awareness of the significance of ANC services and improving utilization, especially in rural areas, is necessary.

Keywords: Barriers, Antenatal Care, Primary Health Care, Basrah

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