Why do women not get the care they need?

Poor women in remote areas are the least likely to receive adequate health care. This is especially true for regions with low numbers of skilled health workers, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Globally in 2015, births in the richest 20 per cent of households were more than twice as likely to be attended by skilled health personnel as those in the poorest 20 per cent of households (89 per cent versus 43 per cent). This means that millions of births are not assisted by a midwife, a doctor or a trained nurse.

In high-income countries, virtually all women have at least four antenatal care visits, are attended by a skilled health worker during childbirth and receive postpartum care. In 2015, only 40% of all pregnant women in low-income countries had the recommended antenatal care visits.

Other factors that prevent women from receiving or seeking care during pregnancy and childbirth are:

  • poverty
  • distance
  • lack of information
  • inadequate services
  • cultural practices.

To improve maternal health, barriers that limit access to quality maternal health services must be identified and addressed at all levels of the health system.

Source: World Health Organization