Factors affecting utilization of postnatal care services at Central Provincial General Hospital, Nyeri Kenya.
Approximately 30-40% of direct maternal deaths in Africa are due to hemorrhage, mostly in the postpartum period. Most maternal deaths due to postpartum hemorrhage occur in settings (both hospital and community). A large proportion of maternal deaths occur during the first 48 hours after delivery, yet this is when coverage and programmes are at their lowest along the continuum of care. In sub Saharan Africa only 13. % who attended postnatal care .Adequate utilization of postnatal care can help reduce mortality and morbidity among mothers and their babies. To improve maternal, newborn and infant health status through increasing the proportion of women receiving essential postpartum services is a strategy many countries have adopted. This study was carried out in Central Province General Nyeri, Kenya with the objective of determining the factors affecting the utilization of postnatal services. It was a descriptive survey which employed both descriptive and qualitative approaches of data collection methods. A convenience sampling method was used to identify the required sample population. The survey was completed by 240 women who responded to a semi- structured questionnaire. The questions that were asked generated demographic information about the mothers; mothers' knowledge about postnatal services, awareness and barriers to utilization of the postnatal services. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and a scientific package for social sciences version 17 (SPSS). The demographic characteristics that were found to be associated with the utilization of postnatal care services were age, marital status and the number of children. Knowledge on postnatal care influenced utilization of postnatal care positively. Some of the key findings of the study were that most women lacked awareness about postnatal service and those who knew about these services knew about immunization and family planning. Long waiting time, rudeness of health providers and cultural beliefs were among the factors found to affect utilization of postnatal care services. Finally the ministry of health should educate women and communities about the importance of postnatal care, danger signs during postpartum period, and its availability and should evaluate the services periodically from the user's perspective to maintain the quality of services.