Antenatal care on the agenda of the post-millennium development goals in northern Ghana

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Background: Antenatal care (ANC) is a key strategy to improve maternal and infant health. However, many pregnant women often do not achieve the recommended number of ANC visits although it recommended pregnant women undergo focussed ANC for up to 8 times in a single pregnancy. The aim of the paper was to assess influence of ANC services on women’s acceptance maternity care and initiation of early breastfeeding.
Methods: Data on three ANC components and breastfeeding from the Health Information Unit of Ghana Health Services for 2012 to 2015 were analysed for ANC attendance, exclusive breastfeeding, intermittent treatment of malaria in pregnancy and skilled childbirth. Primary survey of expectant mothers, health care staff and community members on birth preparedness and complication readiness in the district were abstracted to support the clinical data. Data were cross-examined for completeness for all years and analysis carried out based on the frequencies and percentages.
Results: ANC patronage in the district was averagely low for all years considering the number of women in fertility age, however, stigmatisation and pregnancy “rites/announcement/cleansing” defined late uptake of ANC services by primes mothers in rural areas. Increased or decreased ANC visits influenced uptake of other components.
Conclusion: it is not factual that, mothers who attend ANC and give birth in a health facility, initiate and continue exclusive breastfeeding. On an average, 35% of mothers who received ANC and gave birth in a public health facility breastfed exclusively. Reinforcement at community level to create awareness on the effects of cultural beliefs on pregnancy are recommended to step up patronage of ANC services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-352
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


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