Date of Conferral





Public Health


Patrick Tschida


Fewer rural Congolese women complete 4 antenatal care (ANC) visits than do urban women, despite high maternal and child mortality rates. This quantitative cross-sectional survey applied Andersen's behavioral model of service utilization to examine whether the ANC facility type, provider type, provider gender, time to ANC facility, cost, and number of services can predict ANC compliance among rural women. The study was a secondary analysis of the 2015 Maternal and Child Health (MCH) survey, which comprised 1,280 eligible women selected through stratified random sampling. The analysis included bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions. The findings showed that women seen in private facilities, AOR = 2.220, 95% CI [1.384, 3.561], p < .01; women seen by female providers, AOR = 1.407, 95% CI [1.055, 1.877], p < .05; and women receiving 7 to 9 ANC services, AOR = 1.680, 95% CI [1.142, 2.472], p < .05, were more likely to complete 4 ANC visits. The cost of services and time to the ANC facility had no association with ANC compliance. Further analysis showed that private facilities provided more services (median of 6 vs. 5, p = .000) and had more women attended to by doctors (11% vs. 2%, p = .000) and female providers (72.9% vs. 58.4%, p < .001). These findings suggest that service quality and provider gender play a role in ANC compliance in rural areas. Therefore, Congolese health authorities should establish quality improvement programs and incentives to attract female providers to rural areas. This study contributes to positive social change by identifying ANC access barriers of rural populations and informing future efforts to close the urban-rural gap in MCH outcomes.