Original Research

Accessibility of maternal health information and its influence on maternal health preferences in rural Tanzania: A case study of Chamwino District

Hilda A. Mwangakala
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 23, No 1 | a1353 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v23i1.1353 | © 2021 Hilda A. Mwangakala | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 November 2020 | Published: 19 October 2021

About the author(s)

Hilda A. Mwangakala, Department of Information Systems and Technology, Faculty of Informatics and Virtual Education, The University of Dodoma, Dodoma, Tanzania, United Republic of

Abstract

Background: The access to quality maternal health information amongst pregnant women plays an important role in determining woman’s health behaviour during pregnancy. Yet, access to maternal health information remains a major challenge in Tanzanian rural communities especially for pregnant women leading to low utilisation of skilled maternal health services.

Objectives: The study aimed at examining the accessibility of maternal health information amongst pregnant women in rural Tanzania.

Methods: A qualitative phenomenological study involving 25 pregnant women, 5 skilled healthcare providers (SHPs) and 5 traditional birth attendants (TBAs) was carried out in Chamwino District, Dodoma Region, Tanzania for a period of 6 months. Data were analysed thematically using the six-stage guide to thematic data analysis with NVivo Software.

Results: The acute shortage of healthcare personnel and traditional beliefs influenced pregnant women’s access to quality maternal health information. The majority of women used mothers-in-law and TBAs as their primary source of maternal health information rather than skilled healthcare providers.

Conclusion: Despite the acute shortage, healthcare providers need to play a leading role in providing maternal health information amongst the rural populations. Furthermore, skilled health providers need to work in collaboration with the TBAs to increase access to maternal health information and build a well-informed healthy society.


Keywords

maternal health; skilled healthcare; health information; pregnant women; traditional birth attendant

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