Autonomy of Women in Decision Making with special reference to Maternal Health Care Services in three Selected Districts in Eastern Region, Ghana

Authors: Agyapong Fosu Amankwah*,
Topics: Africa, Medical and Health Geography, Women
Keywords: Ghana, Autonomy, Women, Decision Making, Healthcare Services
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Council Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

With regards to current research and policy on maternal health-care in Ghana in general and Eastern Region in particular the focus in most cases has primarily been on female education and employment, while little attention is placed on women’s decision-making autonomy. However, the role of women in decision-making regarding reproductive health cannot be overemphasized. In this paper, different dimensions of women’s decision-making autonomy and their relationship to maternal and child health-care utilization are investigated using data from current study conducted in three districts in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the study involved interview of 390 females, 180 males and 30 healthcare providers using both probability and non-probability sampling methods. These were supplemented with nine focus group discussion, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of community members towards the autonomy of women in decision making in accessing safe motherhood services, as well as key informant interviews. The results show that most autonomy indicators are important predictors of maternal and child health-care service utilization although the strength and statistical significance vary by health care utilization outcome and in some cases the significance is lost when socio-economic indicators are held constant. The results of the study show that, women’s decision-making and health care seeking behaviours are more dependent on socio-economic factors like education and employment. Therefore, education of women in the research areas should be encouraged to enhance women’s autonomy in order to make significant impact on the reduction of maternal deaths.

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