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Spatial accessibility to health facilities among pregnant women with and without exposure to intimate partner violence in Uganda. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2023 Nov 03;23(1):767



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85175710523 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)


BACKGROUND: Poor physical access to health facilities could increase the likelihood of undetected intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy. We aimed to determine sub-regional differences and associations between spatial accessibility to health facilities and IPV among pregnant women in Uganda.

METHOD: Weighted cross-sectional analyses were conducted using merged 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey and 2014 Uganda Bureau of Statistics health facility datasets. Our study population were 986 women who self-reported being currently pregnant and responded to IPV items. Outcome was spatial accessibility computed as the near point linear distance [< 5 km (optimal) vs. ≥ 5 km (low)] between women's enumeration area and health facility according to government reference cutoffs. Primary independent variable (any IPV) was defined as exposure to at least one of physical, emotional, and sexual IPV forms. Logistic regression models were sequentially adjusted for covariates in blocks based on Andersen's behavioral model of healthcare utilization. Covariates included predisposing (maternal age, parity, residence, partner controlling behavior), enabling (wealth index, occupation, education, economic empowerment, ANC visit frequency), and need (wanted current pregnancy, difficulty getting treatment money, afraid of partner, and accepted partner abuse) factors.

RESULTS: Respondents' mean age was 26.1 years with ± 9.4 standard deviations (SD), mean number of ANC visits was 3.8 (± 1.5 SD) and 492/986 (49.9%) pregnant women experienced IPV. Median spatial accessibility to the nearest health facility was 4.1 km with interquartile range (IQR) from 0.2 to 329.1 km. Southwestern, and Teso subregions had the highest average percentage of pregnant women experiencing IPV (63.8-66.6%) while Karamoja subregion had the highest median spatial accessibility (7.0 to 9.3 km). In the adjusted analysis, pregnant women exposed to IPV had significantly higher odds of low spatial accessibility to nearest health facilities when compared to pregnant women without IPV exposure after controlling for enabling factors in Model 2 (aOR 1.6; 95%CI 1.2, 2.3) and need factors in Model 3 (aOR 1.5; 95%CI 1.1, 3.8).

CONCLUSIONS: Spatial accessibility to health facilities were significantly lower among pregnant women with IPV exposure when compared to those no IPV exposure. Improving proximity to the nearest health facilities with ANC presents an opportunity to intervene among pregnant women experiencing IPV. Focused response and prevention interventions for violence against pregnant women should target enabling and need factors.

Author List

Anguzu R, Walker RJ, Beyer KMM, Zhou Y, Babikako HM, Dickson-Gomez J, Cassidy LD


Ronald Anguzu MD, PhD Assistant Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Kirsten M. Beyer PhD, MPH Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Julia Dickson-Gomez PhD Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Rebekah Walker PhD Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Cross-Sectional Studies
Health Facilities
Intimate Partner Violence
Pregnant Women
Risk Factors
Sexual Partners