Contact: DEPARTMENT OF NURSING SCIENCE
Delta State established Free Maternal and Child Health Services in 2007 and 2010 in order to reduce maternal and child mortality. The aim of the study is to determine how free the Delta State Free Maternal and Child health services are among pregnant women from rural and urban areas who are accessing the services. This was a mixed cross- sectional study. The population for the study were women of reproductive age (15-49 years) who had given birth in the last one year in two Senatorial Districts of Delta State. Two instruments were used Exit poll questionnaire and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) Guide. Sample size for Exit poll was 578 and two FGDs comprising six participants each. A Multistage sampling method was adopted for Exit poll and Purposive sampling was done for FGDs. Descriptive and inferential statistics were adopted for the analysis of the Exit poll data while thematic data analysis was used for FGDs. Findings reveal that direct cost by Rural dwellers was N1,130.00 and for Urban N1,423.00 While direct non-medical cost for seeking care was N269.23 for urban and rural was N509, they were also made to buy some consumables for use during labour, such as delivery mat, sanitary pad, olive oil and cord clamp. The free maternal and child health was not free as expected. It is therefore recommended that Government should put measures in place to check hidden charges.
Keywords: Free maternal and child health, out pocket payment, Hidden Charges, Reproductive age women and Payment coping mechanism.