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ABSTRACT

The maternal mortality ratio and other maternal health indicators are worse for developing countries than for the developed world due to improved access to quality care during pregnancy and especially at delivery in the industrialized world. This study was carried out to identify the factors which influenced choice of place of delivery by pregnant women in Enugu, southeastern Nigeria, and to recommend ways to improve women’s access to skilled attendants at delivery. A pre-tested questionnaire was administered by interviewers to women who had delivered within 3 months prior to date of data collection. The response rate was 75.5% (n=1098). Of the respondents, 52.9% delivered outside health institutions and 47.1% in health institutions. The major factors influencing choice of place of delivery included promptness of care, competence of midwife/doctor, affordability, health education, 24 h presence of doctors, team work among doctors and presence of specialist obstetricians. There were statistically significant associations between choice of institutional or non-institutional deliveries and socio-demographic/economic factors such as place of residence (urban/rural), religion, educational status, tribe, marital status, occupational level, husband’s occupational and educational levels, age and parity (p<0.05). We conclude that factors which will positively influence women to deliver in health institutions in Enugu, Nigeria include a variety of interacting social, economic and health system factors, which operate at various levels-the household, community, the health institutions and the larger social and political environment. Attention to these factors will not only improve maternity utilization but, hopefully, also will reduce the high maternal mortality and improve other maternal health indicators in the study area.

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