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Association of Higher Educational Attainment on Antenatal Care Utilization Among Pregnant Women in East Africa Using Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from 2010 to 2018: A Multilevel Analysis
Authors: Temam Beshir Raru, Galana Mamo Ayana, Hamdi Fekredin Zakaria, Bedasa Taye Merga
Source: International Journal of Women’s Health, Vol 14, 67-77;
Topic(s): Antenatal care
Women's health
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: FEB 2022
Abstract: The use of antenatal care (ANC) plays a major role in minimizing maternal and child mortality through effective and appropriate screening, preventive, or treatment intervention. Even though almost all pregnancy-related mortalities are largely preventable through adequate use of ANC, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), particularly East African Countries, continues to share the largest share of global maternal, and newborn mortality. Therefore, this study assesses if educational attainment is associated with optimal ANC utilization in East Africa. A secondary data analysis was done based on Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from 2010 to 2018 in the 11 East African Countries. A total weighted sample of 84,660 women who gave birth in the 5 years preceding each country’s DHS survey and had ANC visits were included in this study. Data processing and analysis were performed using STATA 15 software. A multilevel mixed-effect logistic regression model was fitted to examine the association of educational attainment and ANC utilization. Variables with a p-value < 0.05 were declared as significant factors associated with ANC utilization. Model comparison was done based on Akaike and Bayesian Information Criteria (AIC and BIC). The magnitude of optimal ANC utilization in East African Countries was 56.37% with 95% CI (56.03, 56.69) with the highest optimal ANC utilization in Zimbabwe (80.96%) and the lowest optimal ANC utilization in Rwanda (44.31%). Women who had higher education levels were more likely to have optimal ANC utilization, compared to those with no education (AOR = 2.34; 95 and CI; 2.11– 2.59). Women who had media exposure were more likely to have optimal ANC utilization than those who have no media exposure (AOR = 1.07; 95% CI; 1.03, 1.10). Antenatal care utilization was low in East African countries. Educational attainment, maternal age, wealth index, birth order, media exposure, and living countries were factors associated with ANC utilization. Efforts to improve antenatal care and other maternal health service utilization in East Africa must take into account these factors. Specifically, working on the access to mass media by women may also improve antenatal care utilization.