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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Quality of antenatal care services at public health facilities of Bahir-Dar special zone, Northwest Ethiopia

Tadese Ejigu1*, Mirkuzie Woldie2 and Yibeltal Kifle2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Bahir- Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

2 Department of Health Planning and Management, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:443  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-443

Published: 26 October 2013



Antenatal care (ANC) is one of the evidence based interventions to decrease the probability of bad health outcomes for mothers and their newborns. Effectiveness of antenatal care, however, relies on the quality of care provided during each antenatal care visit. Hence this study attempted to assess the quality of antenatal care services at public health facilities of Bahir-Dar special zone, North Western Ethiopia.


A facility based cross-sectional study employing both quantitative and qualitative methods was conducted from March to April 2010 in Bahir-Dar special zone, North Western Ethiopia. Quality of care was measured as a proportion of patients receiving recommended components of care. To measure the indicators, data was collected from 369 pregnant women who attended ANC clinics in eight public health facilities, during the data collection period. Data were collected through exit interviews with ANC attendees, observation during consultation, and in-depth interviews with health care providers.


Pregnant mothers attending ANC clinics were found to receive only part of recommended care components. Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test, blood group and Rhesus factor tests were done only for 73 (19.8%) and 133 (36.0%) of the women, respectively. Moreover 236 (64.0%) of the mothers missed the opportunity of receiving iron/folic acid supplement during their ANC visit. Three hundred fifty five (96.2%) of the women received tetanus toxoid vaccine. And only 226 (61.2%) of the women had their conjunctiva checked for anemia. Lack of reagents partly explained the problems observed in the provision of recommended care components.


Almost half, 175 (47.7%) of the study women were not satisfied and a large proportion of mothers are missing opportunities to receive screening (like blood pressure and weight measurements) and preventive components of antenatal care (iron/folic acid supplementation). Therefore, efforts should be targeted to avoid missed opportunities by taking quality improvement measures including the fulfillment of all necessary resources.

Antenatal care; Quality of health care; Public health facilities; Prenatal care