Online Program

Gap in care: Findings from the ulpán valley of Guatemala

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bethesda O'Connell, MPH, College of Public Health, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Michael Bradfield, MPH, Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Megan Quinn, DrPH, MSc, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, Johnson City, TN
This study aimed to raise awareness of maternal, infant, and child health (MICH) risks in the Ulpán Valley of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Data were gathered in 2011 through systematic face-to-face home surveys of fifteen communities in the region and supplemented with community mapping exercises and focus groups. A questionnaire was used to survey female heads of household on a variety of health related topics including maternal and child health outcomes. Data analysis occurred in 2013 using IBM SPSS version 19. Due to the homogenous nature of the sample, statistical analyses were primarily descriptive. The findings provide a foundation for future analysis and interventions. Major results include lack of professional prenatal and postnatal care in the area, with only 40.59% of births being attended by skilled persons and 4.05% having no assistance in the birthing process. This is in contrast to 51.3% of births being attended by a professional in the country. Furthermore, 95.7% of births occurred at home with 6.1% reporting having received no care during their last pregnancy. Over 40% of respondents did not receive care within forty days following childbirth. Additionally, 39.74% of infants did not receive care within 40 days of birth. These gaps in coverage may contribute to the high under-five mortality rate in the area (72 per 1000). Recommendations to improve MICH in the Ulpán Valley include: further investigation of the problem, incentives for professionals to work in area clinics, concentrated midwife training programs, and community education on prenatal, birthing, and postnatal care.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education

Learning Objectives:
Describe how gaps in maternal and child care impact the health of the community. Compare professional care access in the region of the Ulpan Valley to that in the country of Guatemala and to developed countries.

Keyword(s): Community Health, International Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have focused on international or global health throughout my education and have extensive experience in several countries working with rural communities to improve health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.