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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Factors associated with reproductive health care utilization among Ghanaian women

David Doku1*, Subas Neupane2 and Paul Narh Doku3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Population and Health, University of Cape Coast, Private Mail Bag, University Post Office, Cape Coast, Ghana

2 School of Health Sciences, FI – 33014 University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

3 Department of Psychology, Regent University of Science and Technology, Accra, Ghana

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BMC International Health and Human Rights 2012, 12:29  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-12-29

Published: 7 November 2012



This study investigates factors determining the timing of antenatal care (ANC) visit and the type of delivery assistant present during delivery among a national representative sample of Ghanaian women.


Data for the study was drawn from the women questionnaire (N=4,916) of the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey among 15–49-years-old women. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to explore factors determining the type of delivery assistance and timing of ANC visit for live births within five years prior to the survey.


Majority of Ghanaian women attended ANC visit (96.5%) but many (42.7%) did so late (after the first trimester), while 36.5% had delivery without the assistance of a trained personnel (30.6%) or anyone (5.9%). Age (OR=1.5, CI=1.1-1.9, OR for 25-34-year-olds compared to 15-24-year-olds), religion (OR=1.8, CI=1.2-2.8, OR for Christians versus Traditional believers) wealth index (OR=2.6, CI=1.7-3.8, OR for the richest compared to the poorest) were independently associated with early ANC visit. Likewise, age, place of residence, education and partner’s education were associated with having a delivery assisted by a trained assistant. Also, Christians (OR=1.8, CI=1.1-3.0) and Moslems (OR=1.9, CI=1.1-3.3) were more likely to have trained delivery assistants compared to their counterparts who practised traditional belief. Furthermore, the richer a woman the more likely that she would have delivery assisted by a trained personnel (OR=8.2, CI= 4.2-16.0, OR for the richest in comparison to the poorest).


Despite the relatively high antenatal care utilisation among Ghanaian women, significant variations exist across the socio-demographic spectrum. Furthermore, a large number of women failed to meet the WHO recommendation to attend antenatal care within the first trimester of pregnancy. These findings have important implications for reducing maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters by the year 2015.

Antenatal care; Maternal health; Timing of antenatal care visit; Type of delivery assistance