Health Facility Capacity to Provide Maternal and Newborn Healthcare Services in Unguja

  •  Rukia Rajab Bakar    
  •  Rachel N Manongi    
  •  Blandina T. Mmbaga    


Globally, every year 529,000 maternal deaths occur, 99% of which in developing countries with majority being in Sub-Saharan Africa. Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) services depend on the accessibility, availability and quality of antenatal care (ANC), delivery and postnatal services. The aim of this study was to assess the health facilities’ capacity and readiness to provide MNCH services in Unguja Island, Zanzibar.

A facility-based cross-sectional survey was conducted from May to June 2015 at public health facilities providing MNCH services. Data was collected by using the modified Service Availability and Readiness Assessment tool.

Eighteen health facilities were assessed, two-thirds (66.7%, n = 12) of which were offering both maternity and reproductive and child health (RCH) services, 4 (22.2%) RCH services only, and 2 (11.1%) maternity services only. Readiness score for ANC services was 66% with high readiness scores in diagnostics services (89%) and equipment (69%). Overall, 14% offered all seven signal functions. Overall, delivery service readiness score was 48%. Overall readiness for comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care services was 13%. Staff training and guidelines readiness score was 11%, while medicine and commodities score was 9%.

The health facilities’ readiness in providing MNCH services remains inadequate in Unguja Island. Readiness in providing services was low for delivery and emergency obstetric and neonatal care services. Basic and advanced delivery services need to be improved in parallel with provision of necessary equipment, medicines and commodities and staff training for better MNCH service delivery.

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