Income differentials and utilization of antenatal care services among women of reproductive age in Edo South, Nigeria
Harnessing poverty alleviation plans to the rescue
This research paper assessed how income differentials affect utilization of antenatal care services among women of reproductive ages in Edo South, Nigeria with emphasis on primigravida and multigravida mothers. The mixed-method research design was used to elicit firsthand information from those primigravida and multigravida mothers. The sample size of 1108 was selected for the study. The simple random sampling and proportionate sampling techniques were combined for the selection of respondents. Three instruments used for data collection were the questionnaire, focused group discussions and interviews. The interviewees were purposively selected from primigravida mothers, multigravida mothers and modern and traditional health care providers. Inferential statistics like percentage and frequency counts were used in answering the research question posed, while chi-square was used in testing the null hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. The study found that a significant relationship exists between income and utilization of antenatal care services among mothers. A significant proportion of the respondents indicated readiness or willingness to frequently attend ANC assuming they had adequate financial resources at their disposal. Furthermore, women with low-income status tend to seek traditional healthcare services due to the low cost of services compared to modern healthcare services. The study among recommended among other things the need for adequate poverty alleviation policies and programs to enhance ANC utilization, reduce inequalities in health outcomes and enhance financial protection for primigravida and multigravida mothers. The study concluded that given income differentials among women of reproductive age, that supportive poverty alleviation programs could constitute important enabling factors for all mothers to access and utilize antenatal care services irrespective of their income disposition.