Determinants of home child birth practices among pregnant women in Oshikuku district, Omusati region, Namibia

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University of Namibia
Home child birth is one of the leading causes of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity worldwide but more especially in Africa. In Namibia, despite the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) effort to enhance Maternal and newborn health by encouraging women to deliver at health facilities, there are still women who give birth at home. The main objectives of this study were to determine if there is a statistically significant association between women's socio-demographic data and gynecological history (independent variable) and home child birth practice (dependent variable). A quantitative, analytic cross-sectional study was conducted in the Oshikuku District, particularly in the Oshikuku district hospital. The study was done in Oshikuku district hospital because is the only hospital that has a maternity ward in the district. Maternal records of 146 women seeking post-natal care at above mentioned health facility after home child birth practice were reviewed using a structured Microsoft excel spreadsheet. The study reveals that the most women who deliver give birth at home are 25 years and younger. Women from rural areas give birth more at home 97% (n=141) compared to those living in urban areas 3% (n=3), 87% (n=127) were Namibian and 13% (n=19) were non-Namibian. Apart from that women with no formal education tend to deliver more at home 59% (n=86) and also single women give birth more at home 85% (n=124). 77% (n=113) of unemployed women give birth at home. Women with less gravidity and parity 1-3 tend to practice home child birth more than those with high gravidity and parity. Women with no ante-natal visits at all or less than 3 ante-natal visits give birth at home more 59% (n=86). The study also reveal that 64% (n=93) of babies born at home were healthy (no complications recorded) however 23% (n=34) had minor ii complications, 7% (n=10) had major complications and 6% (n=9) died. 72% (n=105) of women who give birth at home were healthy (no complication recorded after home child birth), 20% (n=29) had minor complications, 4% (n=6) had moderate complications, and another 4% (n=6) had major complications respectively.The study identified factors associated with home child birth among women in Oshikuku district, Omusati region in Namibia. The study result shows that younger women, unmarried with no formal employment living in rural areas with low levels of education give birth at home.The recommendations that arise from the study are to give more health education to women on the importance of giving birth in the health facilities for safe delivery. Expanding waiting areas next to health facilities in Omusati region so that more women will be accommodated. This will help women to stay close to health facilities prior to labour. Health extension workers to give health education on maternal health in the communities. Further research is needed to understand the partner’s role they play in choosing the place of child birth
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of master of public health
Home child birth, Health extension workers, Health facilities, Omusati region, Namibia