Understanding coverage of antenatal care in Palestine: Cross-sectional analysis of Palestinian Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, 2019-2020

Masako Horino, Salwa Massad, Saifuddin Ahmed, Khalid Abu Khalid, Yehia Abed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Antenatal care is an essential component of primary healthcare, providing opportunities to screen, prevent, and treat morbidity to preserve the health of mothers and offspring. The World Health Organization now recommends a minimum of eight antenatal care contacts, instead of four, which is challenging in countries exposed to political violence and structural disparities in access to social, economic and healthcare resources as exist in Palestine. This study examines the compliance of the recommend standard of antenatal care in Palestine. Methods We analyzed data from the UNICEF's Palestinian Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2019-2020. The eligible sample consisted of 2,028 women, 15-49 years of age, living in Palestine, on whom data were available on reported antenatal care services received during the most recent pregnancy within the last two years. Outcome variables of interest were the reported frequencies of antenatal care visits, gestational timing of 1st visit, and services received. Potential risk factors were assessed in women attending less than eight versus eight or more antenatal contacts, as recommended by WHO, by estimating prevalence ratios with 95% Confidence Intervals. Results Overall, 28% of women did not meet the WHO's recommendation of eight or more antenatal contacts, varying from 18% in Central West Bank to 33% in South West Bank across the four areas of Palestine (North, Central, and South West Bank and Gaza Strip). Twelve percent of women reported having had no antenatal contacts in the 1st trimester, and these women were two- to three-folds more unlikely to meet WHO recommendation of antenatal contacts than mothers who initiated the antenatal contact in the 1st trimester. Women who had less than eight antenatal contacts were generally poorer, higher in parity, lived in North and South West Bank, sought ANC from either doctor or nurse/midwife only, and initiated antenatal contact in 2nd-to-3rd trimesters. Conclusion There were considerable socioeconomic and geographic inequalities in the prevalence of not meeting WHO recommended number of antenatal contacts in Palestine, offering the opportunity to inform, improve and continuously reassess coverage of antenatal care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0297956
JournalPloS one
Issue number2 February
StatePublished - Feb 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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