Antenatal care practices among hard-to-reach fishing communities on Lake Victoria : a community-based cross-sectional survey
Authors & affiliation
Ali Ssetaala, Joan Nabawanuka, Gideon Matovu, Nusula Nakiragga, Judith Namugga, Phiona Nalubega, Henry Lutalo Kaluuma, Katrina Perehudoff, Kristien Michielsen, Bernard Bagaya, Noah Kiwanuka, Olivier Degomme
Background: Uganda has one of the highest maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, with a mortality ratio of 336 per 100 000 live births. Early regular antenatal care (ANC) helps prevent adverse outcomes, including deaths, through prevention, identification, treatment, and/or referral of at-risk women. We explored ANC practices and associated factors among women from hard-to-reach Lake Victoria islands fishing communities in Kalangala district, Uganda. Methods: A cross-sectional survey among 486 consenting women aged 15 to 49 years, who were pregnant or had a birth or abortion in the past 6 months was conducted in 6 island fishing communities of Kalangala district, Uganda, during January to May 2018. ODK software interviewer-administered questionnaires were used to collect data on sociodemographics and ANC practices. Regression modeling using STATA version 15 was used to determine factors associated with ANC visits. Results: Women's median (range) age was 26 (15-45) years, 63% (304/486) had up to primary level education, 45% (219/486) were housewives (stay home mums), 87% (423/486) were married. ANC visits ranged from 0 to 10, with over three-fifths of women having their first visit late after 3 months of being pregnant (63%, 198/316). Women without a history of pregnancy loss (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.8, 95% CI 1.1-3.0), those not staying with their partners (AOR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.1-6.0), and those whose partners were working in fishing-related activities (AOR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.0-3.0) were likely to have started care late. Women from communities with a public health facility and those with partners working in none fishing-related activities had the highest predicted number of visits. Conclusion: Antenatal practices among these communities are characterized by late start of care. Community-led early ANC awareness interventions are needed. Targeted health policies need to consider public ANC facilities for each island for improved antenatal outcomes and maternal health.