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Open Access Research article

Mothers’ experiences and satisfactions with health extension program in Jimma zone, Ethiopia: a cross sectional study

Zewdie Birhanu1*, Ameyu Godesso2, Yohannes Kebede1 and Mulusew Gerbaba3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Education and Behavioral Sciences, College of Public Health and Medical Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

2 Department of Sociology and Social Work, College of Social Sciences and Law, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

3 Department of Population and Family Health, College of Public Health and Medical Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:74  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-74

Published: 21 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Although mothers are the fundamental unit of interventions in Health Extension Program in Ethiopia, their experiences and satisfactions with the service remain unstudied. Therefore, this study was aimed to assess mothers’ experiences and satisfaction with health extension service.

Methods

A community based cross sectional study was conducted in Jimma Zone, Oromiya, Ethiopia. Three hundred Seventy-nine mothers were participated in the study. The study was conducted in four randomly selected rural villages. Systematic sampling technique was used to identify respondents. As part of the data collection process, four focus group discussions were conducted with mothers. SPSS 17.0 and ATLASti.4.1. Softwares were used for data analysis.

Results

One hundred Sixty nine (51.7%) of the respondents had an experience of interactions with health extension workers during one year prior to the survey, while 271 (71.5%) of them reported that they received visits from health extension workers during the same period. 298 (78.6%) of the respondents received information at least on one of the Health extension packages. In fact, they had better exposure to personal hygiene and environmental sanitation packages. Even though health extension program is being run by female workers alone, it was believed that the involvement of men is vital to the success of the program. Mothers thought that men are more courageous and professionally competent to deal with complex matters. They also tended to criticize health extension program for lacking curative services and health extension workers are less competent. The greater emphasis laid on outreach services was not supported. 286 (75.5%) of the respondents rated their relationship with health extension workers as positive. Similarly, higher satisfaction was reported though the program has problems. Age, perceived skill to diagnose community problems, perceived respect, involvement of husband and being recognized as a model family were significantly predicted satisfactions with health extension services.

Conclusions

Most mothers had good relationship, were satisfied with and had positive attitude towards health extension program though the program was criticized for not including curative services and the less attention given to static services at health post. Stakeholders are required to reconsider these issues.

Keywords:
HEWs; Experiences; Satisfactions; HEP; Ethiopia