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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2018

“The system here isn’t on patients’ side”- perspectives of women and men on the barriers to accessing and utilizing maternal healthcare services in South Sudan

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2018
Ngatho S. Mugo, Michael J. Dibley, Eliaba Yona Damundu, Ashraful Alam



In fragile and war-affected setting such as South Sudan, a combination of physical environmental, socioeconomic factors and healthcare’s characteristic contributes to higher rates of home delivery attended by unskilled attendants. This study aims to understand the community members’ experience, perceptions and the barriers in relation to accessing and utilizing maternal healthcare services in South Sudan.


We conducted in-depth one-on-one interview with 30 women and 15 men to investigate their perspectives on the barriers to access maternal and child health related services. We purposively selected women and their partners in this study.


Our study revealed that inadequate quality of antenatal care services such as lack of essential medicine, supplies and tools was linked to individual’s mothers dissatisfaction with the services they received. In addition, sudden onset of labor and lack of safety and security were important reasons for home delivery in this study. Furthermore, lack of transport as a result of a combination of long distance to a facility and associated costs either restricted or delayed women reaching the health facilities.


Our study highlighted an urgent need for the government of South Sudan to implement security and safety measures in order to improved access to delivery service at night. Incorporating private transports to provide access to affordable and reliable transport services for pregnant and post-partum women is also important. Increasing the budget allocation for medicine and health supplies and improving management of medicine and supply chain logistics are essential.
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