Antenatal care coverage
In 2009, as part of our survey on maternal health in Bauchi and Cross River states in Nigeria, CIET collected information on antenatal care coverage.
Among Bauchi women who had a pregnancy during the three years prior to our survey, 65% reported having at least one antenatal care (ANC) visit at a government health facility. Some 40% reported having at least four such visits. In Cross River, things were not much different — 72% reported having at least one antenatal care (ANC) visit at a government health facility while some 45% reported to have at least four such visits.
Across both the states, a woman was more likely to have at least 4 ANC visits during her last pregnancy if she lived in an urban community, considered it worthwhile to have ANC or if she was educated.
In Bauchi, other significant factors included if the woman lived in a community with a government facility providing ANC, she was from a household with an educated head, she had some formal education or had more than three pregnancies.
In Cross River, other significant factors included if the woman was married or cohabiting, came from a household with enough food during the week prior to our survey, considered a government health facility as the nearest to provide maternal care or she did not have a violent argument with her partner during the one-year period prior to the survey.
The quality of government ANC was not encouraging. The study found that among Bauchi women who went for ANC at a government health facility, 35% had their blood pressure checked while 8% had their urine tested at every ANC visit. In Cross River women had to face similar challenges. Among those who went for ANC at a government health facility, 35% had their blood pressure checked while 22% had their urine tested at every ANC visit.
Study results showed that half of the women visiting a government health facility in Bauchi had to pay for their ANC visits. In Cross River, three out of every four women paid for these visits.
Focus group discussions on antenatal care
Focus group discussions with men and women in the sample communities highlighted the need for public awareness especially among men on the importance of antenatal check-ups. They complained of health workers’ bad attitudes and suggested they should be polite with the users. They recommended that government ANC services should be free with improved access to the health facilities providing antenatal care.