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A Qualitative Study of Women’s Network Social Support and Facility Delivery in Rural Ghana


Cofie, Leslie E.; Barrington, Clare; Sodzi-Tettey, Sodzi; Ennett, Susan T.; Maman, Suzanne; & Singh, Kavita (2018). A Qualitative Study of Women's Network Social Support and Facility Delivery in Rural Ghana. PLOS ONE, 13(11), e0206429. PMCID: PMC6219853


Similar to many sub-Saharan African countries, maternal mortality in Ghana ranks among the highest (39th) globally. Prior research has demonstrated the impact of social network characteristics on health facility delivery in sub-Saharan Africa. However, in-depth examination of the function of all members in a woman's network, in providing various types of support for the woman's pregnancy and related care, is limited. We qualitatively explore how women's network social support influences facility delivery. Qualitative data came from a mixed methods evaluation of a Maternal and Newborn Health Referral project in Ghana. In 2015 we conducted in-depth interviews with mothers (n = 40) and husbands (n = 20), and 4 focus group interviews with mothers-in-law. Data were analyzed using narrative summaries and thematic coding procedures to first examine women's network composition during their pregnancy and childbirth experiences. We then compared those who had homebirths versus facility births on how network social support influenced their place of childbirth. Various network members were involved in providing women with social support. We found differences in how informational and instrumental support impacted women's place of childbirth. Network members of women who had facility delivery mobilized resources to support women's facility delivery. Among women who had homebirth but their network members advocated for them to have facility delivery, members delayed making arrangements for the women's facility delivery. Women who had homebirth, and their network members advocated homebirth, received support to give birth at home. Network support for women's pregnancy-related care affects their place of childbirth. Hence, maternal health interventions must develop strategies to prioritize informational and instrumental support for facility-based pregnancy and delivery care.


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Journal Article

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Cofie, Leslie E.
Barrington, Clare
Sodzi-Tettey, Sodzi
Ennett, Susan T.
Maman, Suzanne
Singh, Kavita