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Rural Ghanaian women's experience of seeking reproductive health care Yakong, Vida Nyagre


Ghana, a low-income developing country in sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing low maternal health service utilization and high rates of maternal mortality, especially in the rural areas. The Talensi-Nabdam District is one of the poorest and most remote districts in Ghana. The reproductive health status of women in the most remote communities in this District is poor. Dialogue about women’s reproductive health care needs in Ghana have been influenced by health care authorities, professionals, researchers and experts’ perceptions. The purpose of this ethnographic research was to explore rural Ghanaian women’s experiences of seeking reproductive health care from their own perspectives. The study was based on data collected from participant observations, unstructured face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions. A total of 27 women of varying socio-demographic backgrounds participated in the study. Interviews were conducted at locations of the women’s choice and in women’s local dialect. Data were translated and transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically. Four major themes emerged from the findings: submitting to the voices of family, women’s experiences of receiving nursing care, the community of gossip, and gaining voice. The findings of this study have implications for nursing practice, education and nursing inquiry. Awareness of barriers that rural women encounter in meeting their reproductive health care needs among health care providers is important in facilitating positive health care seeking behaviours. Nurse educators should orient themselves to the challenges to meeting women’s health care needs, and include in culturally sensitive approaches in nursing education programs. Further research is needed to investigate strategies that will enhance women’s reproductive health care seeking behaviours in rural settings and to focus on women’s perspectives in particular. In addition, research is needed to examine nurses’ perspectives on factors that influence quality care delivery to address women’s reproductive health issues.

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