ISSN: 2454-2342 (online), 2454-2334 (print)
Note: Licensing policy of the journal is changed from Volume 5 Issue 2 onwards. All contents will be under the terms of CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 henceforth.

The New Indian Journal of OBGYN. 8(1):27-32

Barriers to antenatal care during COVID-19 pandemic: A hospital-based retrospective cross-sectional study in rural south Karnataka

Philomena Zacharias,Merlyn Joseph, Ann Jacob,Mary Viji CL, Nitisha Ann Josy,Shulia Lydia,Avita Rose Johnson

ABSTRACT

Background: As part of Covid-19 pandemic response, India went into lockdown to reduce transmission and prevent overwhelming of hospitals. Pregnant women need protection from Covid-19, while ensuring they receive antenatal care (ANC). Objectives: To assess barriers to ANC during Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in rural south Karnataka. Methods: Hospital-based, retrospective cross-sectional study among pregnant women availing ANC in June-July 2020, using a pre-tested interview schedule to capture barriers of access and fears during the pandemic lockdown of 22 March to 31 May 2020. Chi-square test performed to associate barriers to ANC with various independent co-variates. Results: Of 144 pregnant women, 61.8% reported at least one barrier to accessing ANC, 38.9% reported at least one fear and 85% were not able to access ultrasounds and blood tests. Barriers were lack of income, lack of transportation and hospitals /diagnostic centres remaining closed. Barriers of fear were: getting infected with Covid-19, fear of not receiving proper treatment, fear of being turned away from hospital and fear of isolation from family. Women of lower socio-economic class and with pre-existing pregnancy complications were significantly more likely to experience barriers to ANC. Conclusion: Our study found that those residing in rural areas faced barriers to ANC as a result of a well-intentioned pandemic response. Community-based strategies, mechanisms for referral, health education and counselling through village-level workers may help to overcome these barriers. Policy makers must prioritize needs of pregnant women and address these barriers to ensure continued accessibility to ANC during any future pandemics.

doi: 10.21276/obgyn.2021.8.1.7 Full Text PDF
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