Volume 42, Issue 1
Pages 21 - 31

Place, Time and Experience: Barriers to Universalization Of Institutional Child Delivery in Rural Mozambique


Although institutional coverage of childbirth is increasing in the developing world, a substantial minority of births in rural Mozambique still occur outside of health facilities. Identifying the remaining barriers to safe professional delivery services can aid in achieving universal coverage.


Survey data collected in 2009 from 1,373 women in Gaza, Mozambique, were used in combination with spatial, meteorological and health facility data to examine patterns in place of delivery. Geographic information system–based visualization and mapping and exploratory spatial data analysis were used to outline the spatial distribution of home deliveries. Multilevel logistic regression models were constructed to identify associations between individual, spatial and other characteristics and whether women’s most recent delivery took place at home.


Spatial analysis revealed high- and low-prevalence clusters of home births. In multivariate analyses, women with a higher number of clinics within 10 kilometers of their home had a reduced likelihood of home delivery, but those living closer to urban centers had an increased likelihood. Giving birth during the rainy, high agricultural season was positively associated with home delivery, while household wealth was negatively associated with home birth. No associations were evident for measures of exposure to and experience with health institutions.


The results suggest the need for a comprehensive approach to expansion of professional delivery services. Such an approach should complement measures facilitating physical access to health institutions for residents of harder-to-reach areas with community-based interventions aimed at improving rural women’s living conditions and opportunities, while also taking into account seasonal and other variables.

Authors' Affiliations

Victor Agadjanian is professor, Department of Sociology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA. Jing Yao is lecturer, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK. Sarah R. Hayford is associate professor, Department of Sociology and Institute for Population Research, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Guttmacher Institute.

International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

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