HumanInsight Postnatal care services availability and utilization during the COVID-19 era in sub-Saharan Africa: A rapid review
Women Birth. 2022 Oct 11:S1871-5192(22)00330-4. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2022.10.002. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Considerable progress has been made globally in improving maternal and newborn babies' health. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed considerable challenges for countries to maintain the provision of high-quality, essential maternal and newborn healthcare services.
METHODS: A rapid review was carried out on 20 March 2022 on postnatal care (PNC) services availability and utilization during the COVID-19 era in sub-Saharan Africa. PubMed, Google Scholar, and Africa Journals Online (AJOL) databases were searched for relevant studies. Studies included in the review utilized both primary data and secondary data.
FINDINGS: Nineteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The review revealed that there were significant declines in the availability and utilization of PNC services during and after the COVID-19 lockdown. Several reasons were found to contribute to the decline.
DISCUSSION: New, innovative strategies are therefore required to ensure that mothers and their newborn babies receive essential PNC to reduce maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the strategies that can be used include home-based PNC visits, the use of telemedicine, phone-based referral networks, social media, and community radios.
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