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Differences in essential newborn care at birth between private and public health facilities in eastern Uganda
Global Health, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Health Policy, Planning and Management, Makerere University School of Public Health, Kampala, Uganda.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH). (Internationell barnhälsa och nutrition/Persson)
Saving Newborn Lives, Save the Children, Cape Town, South Africa.
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2015 (English)In: Global Health Action, ISSN 1654-9716, E-ISSN 1654-9880, Vol. 8, 24251Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


In Uganda and elsewhere, the private sector provides an increasing and significant proportion of maternal and child health services. However, little is known whether private care results in better quality services and improved outcomes compared to the public sector, especially regarding care at the time of birth.


To describe the characteristics of care-seekers and assess newborn care practices and services received at public and private facilities in rural eastern Uganda.


Within a community-based maternal and newborn care intervention with health systems strengthening, we collected data from mothers with infants at baseline and endline using a structured questionnaire. Descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate data analysis comparing nine newborn care practices and three composite newborn care indicators among private and public health facilities was conducted.


The proportion of women giving birth at private facilities decreased from 25% at baseline to 17% at endline, whereas overall facility births increased. Private health facilities did not perform significantly better than public health facilities in terms of coverage of any essential newborn care interventions, and babies were more likely to receive thermal care practices in public facilities compared to private (68% compared to 60%, p=0.007). Babies born at public health facilities received an average of 7.0 essential newborn care interventions compared to 6.2 at private facilities (p<0.001). Women delivering in private facilities were more likely to have higher parity, lower socio-economic status, less education, to seek antenatal care later in pregnancy, and to have a normal delivery compared to women delivering in public facilities.


In this setting, private health facilities serve a vulnerable population and provide access to service for those who might not otherwise have it. However, provision of essential newborn care practices was slightly lower in private compared to public facilities, calling for quality improvement in both private and public sector facilities, and a greater emphasis on tracking access to and quality of care in private sector facilities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 8, 24251
Keyword [en]
newborn health; private health care; public health care; essential newborn care; Uganda
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-251595DOI: 10.3402/gha.v8.24251ISI: 000377758600001PubMedID: 25843495OAI: diva2:806751
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Available from: 2015-04-21 Created: 2015-04-21 Last updated: 2016-07-25Bibliographically approved

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