Antenatal care and pregnancy outcomes in a safe motherhood health voucher system in rural Kenya, 2007-2013.
Kihara A-B., Harries AD., Bissell K., Kizito W., Van Den Berg R., Mueke S., Mwangi A., Sitene JC., Gathara D., Kosgei RJ., Kiarie J., Gichangi P.
SETTING: A rural private health facility, Ruby Medical Centre (RMC), participating in a safe motherhood health voucher system for poor women in Kiambu County, Kenya. OBJECTIVES: Between 2007 and 2013, to determine 1) the number of women who delivered at the RMC, their characteristics and pregnancy-related outcomes, and 2) the number of women who received an incomplete antenatal care (ANC) package and associated factors. DESIGN: Retrospective cross-sectional study using routine programme data. RESULTS: During the study period, 2635 women delivered at the RMC: 50% were aged 16-24 years, 60% transferred in from other facilities and 59% started ANC in the third trimester of pregnancy. Of the 2635 women, 1793 (68%) received an incomplete ANC package: 347 (13%) missed essential blood tests, 312 (12%) missed the tetanus toxoid immunisation and 1672 (65%) had fewer than four visits. Presenting late and starting ANC elsewhere were associated with an incomplete package. One pregnancy-related mortality occurred; the stillbirth rate was 10 per 1000 births. CONCLUSION: This first assessment of the health voucher system in rural Kenya showed problems in ANC quality. Despite favourable pregnancy-related outcomes, increased efforts should be made to ensure earlier presentation of pregnant women, comprehensive ANC, and more consistent and accurate monitoring of reproductive indicators and interventions.