Barriers to the Utilisation of Skilled Birth Care Services Provided by Healthcare Professionals in Bongo District, Ghana

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Authors : Peter Adatara


Maternal mortality rates are still alarmingly high in Sub-Saharan Africa. Skilled delivery care during childbirth is the most critical intervention for improving maternal health. Despite the importance of skilled delivery services, performance of skilled delivery care is still low in the Bongo District. The researcher, being an indigene of this district, and a professional nurse, observed that skilled birth care during pregnancy, labour and childbirth has been low within the Bongo community and its environs. The study aimed at determining the barriers to utilisation of skilled birth care services provided by healthcare professional from the perspective of mothers in the Bongo District of Upper East Region of Ghana. A descriptive study with cross-sectional design of 610 mothers, selected through simple random sampling technique was conducted. Data were collected using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire, and analysed using SPSS statistics. The study identified women’s age; education; marital status; religion; husband’s education; parity and health insurance status as the socio-demographic characteristics of women that were significantly associated with utilisation or non-utilisation of skilled delivery services. The study also identified lack of money to pay for transportation and cost of treatment; poor quality of services and poor attitudes of health personnel; availability and influence of TBAs; long distance and lack of means of transportation; and cultural reasons as the major barriers to the utilisation of skilled delivery services. The recommendations emerging from the study reinforce the importance of skilled attendants’ awareness regarding attitude, and the need for development of interpersonal communication skills into education and training that women are treated with respect, understanding and dignity. It is also recommended that midwives and other skilled attendants in deprived areas should reorient their caring practices to more culturally appropriate and evidenced- based maternity care. Further research on women’s experiences of care received, and health care delivery in rural areas is needed.


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