Interventions to improve adherence to antenatal and postnatal care regimens among pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review

Kristina Esopo, Lilly Derby, Johannes Haushofer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa tend to have low adherence to antenatal and postnatal care regimens, contributing to high infant and child mortality rates. Despite low adherence figures and the high returns from attending antenatal and postnatal care visits, research on interventions to improve adherence is in its infancy. Our aim was to determine the effectiveness of existing interventions to improve adherence to antenatal and postnatal care regimens among pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods: Full text, peer-reviewed articles, published in English and listed in PubMed or PsycINFO through January 2018 were identified in a systematic review. Studies were restricted to randomized controlled trials only and had to assess intervention impact on antenatal and postnatal care adherence, operationalized as the frequency of visits attended. Two reviewers independently screened papers for inclusion and evaluated the risk of systematic error in each study using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Any discrepancies were reconciled by a third independent reviewer. Results: The initial search generated 186 articles, of which, five met our inclusion criteria. Due to the small sample size and methodological variation across studies, a pooled effect size estimate could not be obtained. Therefore, effects on antenatal and postnatal care adherence were examined and reported at the individual study level. None of the interventions were directly aimed at improving adherence, but two of the five, both behavioral interventions, demonstrated effectiveness in increasing antenatal care (rate ratio 5.86, 95% CI 2.6-13.0, p<0.0001) and postnatal care adherence (31.3%, 95% CI 15.4-47.2, p=0.0009), respectively. Three home visit interventions had no effect on antenatal care adherence. Although the risk of bias was unclear or high in some cases, it remained low in most categories across studies. Conclusions: Results point to a large gap in the literature on interventions to address antenatal and postnatal care adherence in sub-Saharan Africa. Interventions drawing upon the executive function literature and the promising results of the behavioral interventions reviewed here are urgently needed to address these gaps. Trial registration: The review was prospectively registered with PROSPERO, id number https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=88152, on February 7, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number316
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 24 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Keywords

  • Adherence
  • Antenatal care
  • Interventions
  • Postnatal care
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Systematic review

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