“I am alive; my baby is alive”: Understanding reasons for satisfaction and dissatisfaction with maternal health care services in the context of user fee removal policy in Nigeria

Autoři: Anthony Idowu Ajayi aff001
Působiště autorů: Population Dynamics and Reproductive Health and Right Unit, African Population and Health Research Center, APHRC Campus, Nairobi, Kenya aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227010



The main policy thrust in many sub-Saharan Africa countries’ aim at addressing maternal mortality is the elimination of the user fee for maternal healthcare services. While several studies have documented the effect of the user fee removal policy on the use of maternal health care services, the experiences of women seeking care in facilities offering free obstetrics services, their level of satisfaction and reasons for satisfaction or dissatisfaction are poorly understood.


This study adopted a mixed study design involving a population survey of 1227 women of reproductive age who gave birth in the last five years preceding the study (2011–2015), 68 in-depth interviews, and six focus group discussions. Simple descriptive statistics were performed on 407 women who benefitted from the user fee removal policy, while the qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis.


The overall level of satisfaction with care received was remarkably high (97.1%), with birth outcomes being the central reason for their satisfaction. Participants were also satisfied with both the process aspect of care (which includes health workers’ attitude and privacy) and the structural dimension of care (such as, the cleanliness of health care facilities and availability of and access to medicine). From the qualitative analysis, prolonged waiting-time, the limited scope of coverage, mistreatment, disrespect and abuse, inadequate infrastructure and bed space were the main reasons why a few women were dissatisfied with care under free maternal health care.


The findings establish a high level of beneficiaries’ satisfaction with care under free maternal health policy in Nigeria, raising the need for sustaining the policy in expanding access to maternal health services for the poor. Nevertheless, issues relating to prolonged waiting-time, the limited scope of coverage, mistreatment, disrespect and abuse, inadequate infrastructure and bed space require attention from policymakers.

Klíčová slova:

Allied health care professionals – Health care facilities – Health care policy – Labor and delivery – Maternal health – Nurses – Pregnancy – Quality of care


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2019 Číslo 12
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