Birth preparedness and complication readiness- a qualitative study among community members in rural Tanzania

Furaha August, Andrea B. Pembe, Edmund Kayombo, Columba Mbekenga, Pia Axemo, Elisabeth Darj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Birth preparedness and complication readiness (BP/CR) strategies are aimed at reducing delays in seeking, reaching, and receiving care. Counselling on birth preparedness is provided during antenatal care visits. However, it is not clear why birth preparedness messages do not translate to utilisation of facility delivery. This study explores the perceptions, experiences, and challenges the community faces on BP/CR. Design: A qualitative study design using Focused Group Discussions was conducted. Twelve focus group discussions were held with four separate groups: young men and women and older men and women in a rural community in Tanzania. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data. Results: The community members expressed a perceived need to prepare for childbirth. They were aware of the importance to attend the antenatal clinics, relied on family support for practical and financial preparations such as saving money for costs related to delivery, moving closer to the nearest hospital, and also to use traditional herbs, in favour of a positive outcome. Community recognised that pregnancy and childbirth complications are preferably treated at hospital. Facility delivery was preferred; however, certain factors including stigma on unmarried women and transportation were identified as hindering birth preparedness and hence utilisation of skilled care. Challenges were related to the consequences of poverty, though the maternal health care should be free, they perceived difficulties due to informal user fees. Conclusions: This study revealed community perceptions that were in favour of using skilled care in BP/CR. However, issues related to inability to prepare in advance hinder the realisation of the intention to use skilled care. It is important to innovate how the community reinforces BP/CR, such as using insurance schemes, using community health funds, and providing information on other birth preparedness messages via community health workers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26922
JournalGlobal Health Action
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Birth preparedness and complication readiness
  • Perceptions
  • Rural Tanzania


Dive into the research topics of 'Birth preparedness and complication readiness- a qualitative study among community members in rural Tanzania'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this