Introduction: In Gushegu municipality, the maternal mortality ratio and neonatal mortality
rate remain high. Despite global efforts with the Millennium Development Goals, improvement
has stagnated. In addition, the WHO focuses on positive pregnancy and childbirth experience
for women with the aim to improve skilled birth attendance. This study examines the
preferences and perspectives that affect healthcare seeking behaviour in maternal and neonatal
healthcare, to improve healthcare utilization in Gushegu municipality in Ghana and to be able
to give women a positive pregnancy and childbirth experience.
Methods: A qualitative research was conducted in Gushegu municipality in northern Ghana.
Data was gathered through observations, focus group discussions (N=19), semi-structured indepth
interviews (N=67) and key-informant interviews (N=17). To collect the data, male and
female respondents were selected through snowball sampling and purposeful sampling.
Afterwards, the gathered data was analysed with Atlas.ti software through thematic indexing
Results: The positive pregnancy and childbirth experience is influenced by the access to care,
quality of care and dignity and satisfaction of care. Although many women are able to identify
healthcare issues, it is difficult for them to identify solutions and preferences. However, after
some encouragement women shared their preferences. Furthermore, this study found that men
play an important role in decision-making, transportation and finances regarding women’s
Discussion: The utilization of care is influenced by the health-seeking behaviour of women and
their experiences of access to care, quality of care and dignity and satisfaction of care. This
includes respectful quality care with effective communication, education and information.
Solutions towards a positive pregnancy and childbirth experience include education of women
and men, improve the dignity and satisfaction by paying attention to the privacy of women and
train health professionals in knowledge, skills, emotional support and effective communication.
Keywords: Neonatal and maternal healthcare, utilization of care, access to care, quality of care,
dignity and satisfaction of care, health-seeking behaviour, positive pregnancy experience,
positive childbirth experience, Ghana
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