Date of Conferral





Public Health


Patrick A. Tschida


There is low use of health facilities for childbirth in South Sudan despite the majority of households reporting access to a health facility. South Sudan has a high maternal mortality ratio with 789 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. The absence of a midwife during labor and delays in reaching health facilities for childbirth remain the leading contributing factors to the high maternal mortality. Little is known, however, about factors influencing use and non-use of health facilities for delivery in the country. This phenomenological study, therefore, seeks to build a body of evidence by describing the experiences of women using health facilities for childbirth. Applying the health belief model, structured interviews were conducted confidentially with 20 women between the ages of 18 and 45 who delivered at the Juba Teaching Hospital. Interviews were voice recorded, transcribed, and analyzed by hand-coding and through NVivo computer software. A review of copied data, comparison with field notes, and member checking were done to ensure data quality. Five broad themes emerged based on the research questions and linked these to the theoretical model. Findings revealed that women received support and assistance during their childbirth experience at the hospital from their husbands, mothers-in-law, health workers, and neighbors. Women reported negative factors such as hunger and positive factors such as care provided by midwives as affecting their childbirth experiences. This research could contribute to improving health outcomes for women and newborns. This study has implications for positive social change by transforming the provision of maternity services in South Sudan.