Understanding how distance to facility and quality of care affect maternal health service utilization in Kenya and Haiti: A comparative geographic information system study

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Xing Gao
David Wayne Kelley *
(*) Corresponding Author:
David Wayne Kelley | dwkelley@stthomas.edu

Abstract

In 2000, the United Nations established eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to combat worldwide poverty, disease, and lack of primary education. Goal number five aimed to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters and provide universal access to reproductive healthcare services by 2015. While there has been some progress, MDG 5 fell far short of target goals, highlighting the necessity of further improvement in global maternal health. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), this study aims to understand how distance to facility and quality of care, which are components of access, affect maternal service utilization in two of the world’s poorest countries, Haiti and Kenya. Furthermore, this study examines how this relationship may change or hold between urban and rural regions. Data from the United States Agency for International Development Demographic and Health Survey and Service Provision Assessment were linked spatially in a GIS model, drawing comparisons among distance to facility, quality of care, and maternal health service utilization. Results show that in both rural and urban regions, access to maternal health service and maternal health service utilization share a similar spatial pattern. In urban regions, pockets of maternal health disparities exist despite close distance to facility and standard quality of care. In rural regions, there are areas with long distances to facilities and low quality of care, resulting in poor maternal service usage. This study highlights the usefulness of GIS as a tool to evaluate disparities in maternal healthcare provision and usage.


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