Maternal Health-Seeking Behavior and Associated Factors in a Rural Nigerian Community

  • K. M. Osubor
  • Adesegun O. Fatusi
  • J. C. Chiwuzie

Objectives: To assess maternal health services and health-seeking behavior in a rural community (Ologbo), located in the South–south zone of Nigeria. Methods: Structured questionnaire was administered to 225 randomly selected mothers (age 15–49 years), and was analyzed using SPSS. Six focus group discussion sessions were also conducted—four for community women and two for health workers. Results: Teenagers constituted 13.3% of the respondents. The average number of children per woman ranged from 2.5 for teenagers to 9.0 for women aged 45–49 years. Eighty percent of respondents knew at least one major medical cause of maternal mortality: the most common causes mentioned were hemorrhage (31.8%) and obstructed labor (17.3%). Private maternity center was the most preferred place for childbirth (37.3%), followed by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) (25.5%). Government facility was preferred by only 15.7%: reasons for the low preference included irregularity of staff at work (31.4%), poor quality of services (24.3%), and high costs (19.2%). Among the 81 women that delivered within a 1-year period, only 9.9% received antenatal care, 6.2% received two doses of tetanus toxoid, while 4.9% attended postnatal clinic. Private midwives and TBAs attended 49.4 and 42.0% of deliveries, respectively. Education was found to be significantly associated with choice of place for delivery (p < 0.05), but no association was found with respect to age and marital status. Only 11.4% of mothers were practicing family planning. Conclusions: Poor health-seeking behavior is a challenge in rural Nigeria, and interventions are needed to achieve improved maternal health status.


maternal health health behavior rural Nigeria 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. M. Osubor
    • 1
    • 2
  • Adesegun O. Fatusi
    • 3
    • 4
  • J. C. Chiwuzie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community MedicineUniversity of Benin Teaching HospitalBenin cityNigeria
  2. 2.Canadian International Development AgencyAbujaNigeria
  3. 3.Department of Community HealthCollege of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo UniversityIle-IfeNigeria
  4. 4.Department of Community HealthCollege of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo UniversityIle-IfeNigeria

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