Factors affecting the quality of antenatal care provided to remote dwelling Aboriginal women in northern Australia

Sarah Bar-Zeev, Lesley Barclay, Sue Kruske, Sue Kildea

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Objective: there is a significant gap in pregnancy and birth outcomes for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women compared with other Australian women. The provision of appropriate and high quality antenatal care is one way of reducing these disparities. The aim of this study was to assess adherence to antenatal guidelines by clinicians and identify factors affecting the quality of antenatal care delivery to remote dwelling Aboriginal women.

    Setting and design: a mixed method study drew data from 27 semi-structured interviews with clinicians and a retrospective cohort study of Aboriginal women from two remote communities in Northern Australia, who gave birth from 2004–2006 (n=412). Medical records from remote health centres and the regional hospital were audited.

    Measurements and findings: the majority of women attended antenatal care and adherence to some routine antenatal screening guidelines was high. There was poor adherence to local guidelines for follow-up of highly prevalent problems including anaemia, smoking, urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections. Multiple factors influenced the quality of antenatal care.

    Key conclusions and implications for practice: the resourcing and organisation of health services and the beliefs, attitudes and practices of clinicians were the major factors affecting the quality of care. There is an urgent need to address the identified issues in order to achieve equity in women's access to high quality antenatal care with the aim of closing the gap in maternal and neonatal health outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)289-296
    Number of pages8
    JournalMidwifery
    Volume30
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

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