The perceptions of women on child birthing in a public-health facility in a peri-urban area in Kavango east region, Namibia

Bartholomeus M Muntenda, Vistolina Nuuyoma, Ruth Stern


Purpose: The study explored the perceptions of women on child birthing in a public-health facility in a peri-urban area of the Kavango east region.

Methods: A qualitative case study was conducted with women residing in Kehemu settlement, who have given birth either using a public-health facility or outside a public facility with the assistance of traditional birth attendants. Data were collected via three focus group discussions with 21 women (n = 21) who were purposively selected. Discussions were conducted in a local language and all were audio recorded with the participants’ permission. Data were transcribed and translated into English for analysis. The process of data reduction was used to analyse the study data.

Results: Women were found to prefer child birthing at a public hospital because they considered nurses and midwives to be knowledgeable, caring and skilled people with regard to managing a woman in labour. However, although some women prefer to deliver at a public hospital, circumstances such as lack of transport – especially at night-time – prevent them from reaching the hospital. Moreover, some women indicated that nurses’ attitudes, the ill timing of labour and the wrong advice were hindrances to public hospital child birthing. Women stated more nurses, more supplies of the items used in child birthing, the provision of pain relief during labour, and a change in nurses’ attitudes as being some of the improvements which would make public hospital maternity wards more user-friendly.

Conclusions: The women perceived child birthing at the public-health facility as being generally good, affordable and acceptable. However, there is a need for more interventions to make the public-health facility more user-friendly and accessible to all.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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