Intimate Partner Violence and Utilization of Maternal Health Care Services in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

May 2017 - Structural Prevention

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Mohammed, B.H., Johnston, J.M., Harwell, J.I., et al. BMC Health Services Research (March 2017), 17(1): 178, doi:10.1186/s12913-017-2121-7.

This cross-sectional study focused on the association between intimate partner violence (IPV) and use of maternal health care (MCH) services in Ethiopia. A total of 210 women with an infant under 6 months (participants in a larger study on use of MCH services in Addis Ababa) filled out a questionnaire that included information on IPV. Findings showed that over three-quarters of participants (75.2%) had experienced IPV in their current relationship, including control by partners (69%), sexual violence (37.6%), emotional violence (23.3%), and physical violence (18.6%). Regression analysis showed that though nearly all women had at least one antenatal care (ANC) visit, women who experienced emotional violence were less likely to attend ANC during their first trimester. Women who had experienced physical abuse were less likely to have had HIV testing, a skilled birth attendant, or birth at a facility. Women who had experienced physical or sexual abuse or control by their partner were less likely to attend four or more ANC visits. Over half of the women believed that IPV was acceptable. The authors concluded that all types of IPV were significantly associated with poor use of MCH services. They recommended that to sustain recent improvements in MCH services in Addis Ababa, and to continue improving them, programs should address the effects of IPV on women's use of services.

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