Factors influencing utilisation of postnatal services in Mulago and Mengo Hospitals Kampala, Uganda
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Maternal and child-health and health education are three major concerns of public health organisations and researchers throughout the world. Health education for mothers is a strategy many countries have adopted to improve maternal and child-health. The present study was carried out in Uganda with the objective of exploring the factors influencing the utilisation of postnatal services at Mulago and Mengo hospitals, a government and private hospital. Both hospitals are located in Kampala district in Uganda. The survey, was completed by 330 women who responded to a structured questionnaire that was given to them six to eight weeks after delivery. Questions that were asked generated demographic information about the mothers; mothers’ knowledge about postnatal services; mothers’ socio-economic status and barriers to utilisation of the postnatal services. The participants included all women who delivered in Mulago and Mengo hospitals in November 2003 except for those who had had a neonatal death. The data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Some of the key findings of the study were that most women lacked awareness about postnatal services and those who knew about these services only knew about immunisation and family planning services. The majority of the mothers did not know about other services, such as physiotherapy, counselling, growth monitoring, and physical examination. Lack of money for transport or service costs, distance from the health care facility, not being aware of the services, lack of somebody to take care of the child at home were some of the main barriers to utilisation of postnatal services. Others included, lack of education, lack of employment, lack of decision-making powers, and lack of time to go back for the service. The ministry of health should educate women and communities about the importance of postnatal care, its availability, and the importance of women having decision-making power over their own health. The health service organization should improve on the quality of care by ensuring that services are provided at convenient hours with privacy, confidentiality and respect and it should evaluate the services periodically from the users perspective to maintain the quality of service.