Evaluating the impact of the community-based health planning and services initiative on uptake of skilled birth care in Ghana.
Johnson FA., Frempong-Ainguah F., Matthews Z., Harfoot AJP., Nyarko P., Baschieri A., Gething PW., Falkingham J., Atkinson PM.
BACKGROUND: The Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) initiative is a major government policy to improve maternal and child health and accelerate progress in the reduction of maternal mortality in Ghana. However, strategic intelligence on the impact of the initiative is lacking, given the persistant problems of patchy geographical access to care for rural women. This study investigates the impact of proximity to CHPS on facilitating uptake of skilled birth care in rural areas. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Data from the 2003 and 2008 Demographic and Health Survey, on 4,349 births from 463 rural communities were linked to georeferenced data on health facilities, CHPS and topographic data on national road-networks. Distance to nearest health facility and CHPS was computed using the closest facility functionality in ArcGIS 10.1. Multilevel logistic regression was used to examine the effect of proximity to health facilities and CHPS on use of skilled care at birth, adjusting for relevant predictors and clustering within communities. The results show that a substantial proportion of births continue to occur in communities more than 8 km from both health facilities and CHPS. Increases in uptake of skilled birth care are more pronounced where both health facilities and CHPS compounds are within 8 km, but not in communities within 8 km of CHPS but lack access to health facilities. Where both health facilities and CHPS are within 8 km, the odds of skilled birth care is 16% higher than where there is only a health facility within 8km. CONCLUSION: Where CHPS compounds are set up near health facilities, there is improved access to care, demonstrating the facilitatory role of CHPS in stimulating access to better care at birth, in areas where health facilities are accessible.