Maternal Perception of Barriers to Utilization of Prenatal Ultrasound in Prenatal Care in the Northern Part of Nigeria
Prenatal ultrasound has in the past one decade gained acceptance as a standard tool for obstetric management in North-Central Nigeria but it is however faced with barriers hindering its utilization in prenatal care. The objective of this study was to assess the perception of pregnant women about the barriers to utilization of prenatal ultrasound in prenatal care in North-Central Nigeria. A hospitalbased cross-sectional prospective survey was conducted at the antenatal clinic of Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Benue State in North-Central Nigeria between December 2008 and June 2009. The survey targeted pregnant women who were attending antenatal clinic in the hospital. A convenience sample of 596 patients who have had at least one previous prenatal ultrasound were included in the study. Results showed all the barriers were rated high with necessity of scan (attitude) and satisfaction with prenatal ultrasound service rating higher than the rest; being 2.91±1.12 and 3.00± 0.63 respectively on a 4-point scale. Socio-demographic variables correlated significantly to the identified barriers (p < 0.05) while one-way ANOVA showed that all the socio-demographic variables were significant contributors to their ratings of various barriers (p < 0.05). In conclusion, negative attitude, long distances to service providers, considerably heavy financial cost, long waiting periods and unsatisfactory previous scan experience are major barriers to prenatal ultrasound. Socio-demographic variables have significant influence on these barriers and improvement on these variables can help overcome the barriers.