A REVIEW OF THE BARRIERS AND SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS INFLUENCING THE ACCESS TO MATERNAL HEALTH CARE SERVICES IN NIGERIA
Access means that services are available whenever and wherever the patient needs them and that the point of entry is defined.
Access to maternal healthcare facility is vital for both the wellbeing of the mother and survival of the child during pregnancy and childbirth.
The objective of the thesis was to review the barriers and socio-cultural factors influencing the access to maternal healthcare services in Nigeria. “The review answered the following questions:”
What factors prevent access to maternal healthcare services in Nigeria?
What are the socio-cultural factors that hinder/prevent women from utilizing mater-nal health services in Nigeria?
The study was literature based and an extensive search was carried out to find relevant studies. A range of electronic databases was searched for articles published from 1998 to 2013.
The results of the review showed that factors that influence the access and utilization of maternal health care services were economic, socio-cultural, and health sys-tem factors. These factors include to a larger extent the household, community, the state, the health institution and also the social and political environment.
The study recommends reducing the cost of care and improving the quality of maternal health care especially for the poor and rural dwellers and also the empowerment of women as prerequisites for any tangible improvement in the access and utilization of maternal health care and obstetric delivery services in Nigeria.
The term maternal health includes the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. It encompasses the health care dimension of family planning, preconception, prenatal and postnatal care in order to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality (World Health Organization, 2012.Maternal Health). In developing countries like Nigeria, pregnancy and child birth compli-cations are major causes of maternal and child death and these deaths are at-tributed to the fact that most pregnant mothers do not get the appropriate care they need as a result of certain barriers to the health care facilities.
Therefore, the aim of this review is to identify these factors that prevent women from having appropriate access to maternal health care services in Nigeria. The study will answer the following questions:
(a) What factors prevent access to maternal healthcare services in Nigeria?
(b) What are the social cultural factors that hinder/prevent women from utilizing
maternal health services in Nigeria?