Mapping maternal healthcare access in selected West African Countries

Dorothy N Ononokpono, Bernard Baffour, Alice Richardson

Abstract


Background: The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three emphasizes the need to improve maternal and new-born health and reduce the global maternal mortality rate to less than 70 per 100 000 live births by 2030. Achieving the SDG goal 3.1 target will require evidence-based data on the distribution of maternal health outcomes and their linkage to healthcare access.

Data and Methods: This study used WorldPop data derived from an integration of satellite, census and household survey. Exploratory spatial analysis techniques were used to examine and visualize the spatial distribution of women of reproductive age (15-19 and 40- 44), live births and pregnancies at the subnational level in three “poor resource” West African countries:  Mali, Guinea and Liberia. Buffer analysis was used to quantify the number of pregnancies within user-defined distances of a health facility.

Findings: Results showed wide variations in the distribution of maternal health outcomes across the countries of interest and districts of each of the countries. There was also clustering of maternal health outcomes and health facilities at the urban capital cities of Bamako, Conakry, and Greater Monrovia. A considerable number of pregnancies in most districts of northern Mali, northern and forest regions of Guinea and counties in south-eastern Liberia were not within 50km distance of a health facility, indicating inadequate access to maternal healthcare.

Conclusion: To bridge the gap in inequity in healthcare access, and improve maternal and newborn health in the study countries, there is need for equitable distribution of health resources and infrastructure within and across the disadvantaged districts.

Background: The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three emphasizes the need to improve maternal and new-born health and reduce the global maternal mortality rate to less than 70 per 100 000 live births by 2030. Achieving the SDG goal 3.1 target will require evidence-based data on the distribution of maternal health outcomes and their linkage to healthcare access.

Data and Methods: This study used WorldPop data derived from an integration of satellite, census and household survey. Exploratory spatial analysis techniques were used to examine and visualize the spatial distribution of women of reproductive age (15-19 and 40- 44), live births and pregnancies at the subnational level in three “poor resource” West African countries:  Mali, Guinea and Liberia. Buffer analysis was used to quantify the number of pregnancies within user-defined distances of a health facility.

Findings: Results showed wide variations in the distribution of maternal health outcomes across the countries of interest and districts of each of the countries. There was also clustering of maternal health outcomes and health facilities at the urban capital cities of Bamako, Conakry, and Greater Monrovia. A considerable number of pregnancies in most districts of northern Mali, northern and forest regions of Guinea and counties in south-eastern Liberia were not within 50km distance of a health facility, indicating inadequate access to maternal healthcare.

Conclusion: To bridge the gap in inequity in healthcare access, and improve maternal and newborn health in the study countries, there is need for equitable distribution of health resources and infrastructure within and across the disadvantaged districts.


Keywords


Maternal health, districts, West Africa, mapping, geospatial analysis, buffer analysis.



DOI: https://doi.org/10.11564/34-1-1495

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