Maternal and newborn healthcare practices: assessment of the uptake of lifesaving services in Hoima District, Uganda

Geoffrey Babughirana*, Sanne Gerards, Alex Mokori, Elisha Nangosha, Stef Kremers, Jessica Gubbels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


BackgroundThe current maternal mortality ratio in Uganda is 336 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Infant mortality is 43 deaths per 1000 live births, with 42% of the mortality occurring during the neonatal period. This might be related to a weak health system in the country. This study aimed at assessing the uptake of lifesaving services during pregnancy and childbirth in Hoima District, Uganda.MethodsThe study used a cross-sectional quantitative design among 691 women with a child under 5years. Households were randomly sampled from a list of all the villages in the district with the ENA for SMART software using the EPI methodology. Pre-coded questionnaires uploaded in the Open Data Kit were used for data collection. The data was cleaned and analysed using MS Excel and SPSS software. Descriptive results are presented.ResultsOf the 55.1% women attending at least four antenatal care (ANC) visits, only 24.3% had the first ANC within the first trimester. Moreover, ANC services generally was of poor quality, with only 0.4% meeting all the requirements for quality of ANC service. The highest contributors to this poor quality included poor uptake of iron-folic acid (adherence 28.8%), the six-required birth preparedness and complication readiness items (13.2%), and recognition of the seven danger signs of pregnancy (3.0%). Adherence to the seven essential newborn care actions was very low (0.5%), mainly caused by three practices: initiating breastfeeding within 1 h (59.9%), lack of postnatal care within 24h (20.1%), and failure to recognize the 6 danger signs of the newborn (2.4%). Only 11.1% of the males participated in all maternal and newborn care requirements, by encouraging women to seek healthcare (39.9%), accompanying them to healthcare (36.9%), and HIV counselling and support services (26.2%).ConclusionThe study reveals poor maternal and newborn practices throughout the continuum of care, from ANC and skilled birth attendance to newborn care during childbirth. With such poor results, it is not surprising that Hoima is sixth of 10 districts that have the highest numbers of deaths due to maternal mortality in Uganda.

Original languageEnglish
Article number686
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2020


  • Maternal and newborn health
  • Goal-oriented ANC
  • Essential newborn care
  • Male involvement and quality of care

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