Why Muslim women in Northern Ghana do not use skilled maternal healthcare services at health facilities: A qualitative study Healthcare availability and accessibility

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Abstract

Background: Muslim women are one sub-population in Ghana among whom the rate of skilled maternal health services accessibility and utilisation is very low. However, there are no studies in Ghana that explore the maternity needs and care experiences of Muslim women, and why they do not utilise maternal healthcare services at health facilities. The purpose of this paper is to explore the maternity healthcare needs and care experiences of Muslim women and the barriers to accessing and using maternal health services. Methods: Qualitative research was conducted with 94 Muslim women in three communities in northern Ghana between November 2011 and May 2012. Data were analysed using the Attride-Stirling's thematic network analysis framework. Results: Findings suggest that although Muslim women do want to receive skilled care in a health facility, they often experience difficulties with accessing and using such services. These difficulties were often conditioned by a religious obligation to maintain bodily sanctity through modest dressing and the avoidance of unlawful bodily exposure or contact with certain people including male or alien caregivers. Other related access barriers include lack of privacy, healthcare providers' insensitivity and lack of knowledge about Muslim women's religious and cultural practices, and health information that lacked the cultural and religious specificity to meet Muslim women's maternity care needs. Conclusion: Maternal healthcare services designed to meet the needs of mainstream non-Muslim Ghanaian women might lack the flexibility and responsiveness to meet the unique maternity care needs of Muslim women. Recommendations for change include cultural competence training for healthcare providers and cultural/religious matching to meet Muslim women's care needs and to enhance their care experience.

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APA

Ganle, J. K. (2015). Why Muslim women in Northern Ghana do not use skilled maternal healthcare services at health facilities: A qualitative study Healthcare availability and accessibility. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12914-015-0048-9

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