Utilization of health care services and maternal education in South Africa
The importance of maternal health care services cannot be stressed enough. Maternal health services are important in reducing pregnancy-related complications as well as maternal and infant deaths. This study was concerned with investigating the relationship between maternal education and maternal health care utilization. Furthermore, the study aimed to investigate the rates of maternal health care use, the reasons for non-use of maternal health services, as well as the determinants of maternal health care use. Primary data was used from selected areas (Tsolo, Qumbu and Mqanduli), which fall within the O.R. Tambo district in the Eastern Cape Province. Simple random sampling was used (with a structured questionnaire) to study maternal health care use among the sampled women. To analyse this data, univariate, bivariate, and multivariate techniques were employed. The results indicated that maternal education was not statistically significant with antenatal and postnatal services, but the percentages were important in explaining the use of maternal health care services in relation to maternal education. Women with higher levels of education reported higher rates of antenatal and delivery care utilization, while those with lower levels of education reported higher rates of postnatal care use. Access factors, such as transport, payment and distance to health facilities, also played an important role in the use of maternal health care services. It was recommended that the Department of Health implement mobile clinics and centralize health care facilities as this will bring essential health services closer to the communities. Women in the study area also need to be educated about the importance of these services, more particularly pertaining to postnatal care.
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