Background/Aim: Historical evidences indicate that maternal health care by a skilled birth attendant is one of the key strategies for maternal survival. However, the rate of maternity care utilisation and reduction of maternal death is very low in Nigeria. This study was designed to investigate factors influencing access to emergency obstetric care with a view to guiding programmatic efforts targeted at overcoming these barriers and also contribute to health reforms in Nigeria. Hence, the need to understand factors influencing access to emergency obstetric care in Nigeria using the Socio-ecological Model (SEM) and Gender and Development (GAD) to identify associated factors operating at different levels.
Methods: A mixed method was employed for this study. Data collection used questionnaires and in-depth interviews. Questionnaires were distributed to 330 respondents of which 318 of them were retrieved and qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted for 6 participants. Data collection were done using a sequential approach. The study was conducted in one of the tertiary health facilities in Nigeria from January-April, 2015, amongst mothers aged 15-45 years meeting the study inclusion criteria. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used in analysing the quantitative data. Bivariate and logistic regressions were conducted for the quantitative data whilst a qualitative content analysis was done for the qualitative data.
Results: The study established that education, income level, costs associated with seeking care, distance and time taken to travel were significantly associated with maternity healthcare services utilisation. Quality of service, staff attitude and women’s autonomy showed consistent significant association with maternal health care utilisation.
Conclusions: The study concludes that; costs of treatment, distance and time, income level, staff attitude and women’s autonomy were critical in determining women utilisation of maternity care services.
Recommendation: As an outcome of this research, best practice framework has been developed. The framework presents a coherent and systematic approach for achieving sustainable MH by providing a roadmap for instituting measures at the policy, health facility, community and at the individual levels, taking into account factors that are likely to promote or impede the achievement of sustainable MH.
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