The utilization of maternal health services at primary healthcare setting in Southeast Asian Countries: a systematic review of the literature

H Herwansyah*, Katarzyna Czabanowska, Valia Kalaitzi, Peter Schröder - Bäck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


The reduction of Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) remains a global health issue. Although major progress has been achieved in the past 15 years, the ratio is still high, especially in Low Middle-Income Countries. In the Southeast Asian region, most of the countries have not reached the Sustainable Development Goals target yet. Although the countries have several similarities in many aspects, such as community characteristics, cultural context, health systems, and geographical proximity, the MMR in the region presents interesting variations. The scope of this systematic review is to explore published literature on the utilization of maternal health services at the community healthcare centre setting in Southeast Asian countries. The databases PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were searched systematically to identify quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods studies published in 2000–2020. A total of 1876 records were found, out of which 353 full text were screened. Finally, 27 studies on utilization of maternal health services met the inclusion criteria and were selected for analysis from seven Southeast Asian countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, The Philippines, Timor Leste and Vietnam. Most of the articles focused on the utilization of maternal health services at primary health care setting. Several themes on maternal health services utilization in the countries emerged, including cultural and socioeconomic factors contributed to the utilization of maternal health services, factors associated with the low utilization of ANC, determinants affected place of delivery and delivery assistance choice. The utilization of maternal health services at primary healthcare setting in seven Southeast Asian countries was identified in a small number of studies. Sociocultural barriers and disparities of health services provision are the major factors associated with low utilization of the services. Further research on strengthening the role of primary healthcare in maternal health services provision is required.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100726
Pages (from-to)9
Number of pages9
JournalSexual & Reproductive Healthcare
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Maternal health
  • Utilization
  • Maternal mortality
  • Primary healthcare
  • Southeast Asia

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