Abstract

Background: Improving the quality of healthcare services is considered as the main strategy to improve maternal and neonatal health outcomes. Providing appropriate healthcare for mothers and their newborn children is facilitated significantly by considering the mothers’ health and welfare before pregnancy occurs. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the quality of preconception care provided to women of reproductive age provided by five health centers in Mashhad in 2012 and 2013.

Methods: Multi-stage sampling was used to select the participants in this descriptive study. As a result, 360 women of reproductive age and 39 healthcare providers from 24 healthcare centers in Mashhad were selected to participate. The data gathering tool was a checklist based on the Donabedian model that includes the three dimensions of structure, process, and outcome. The data were analyzed by SPSS software (version 11.5), Kruskal-Wallis tests, ANOVA, and Spearman rank correlation.

Results: The results showed that preconception care at the 24 healthcare centers had essentially the same conditions. But in the process and outcome components, the quality of the preconception care at five of the health centers was significantly different (p=0.008). The highest quality of care processes was identified at health center number 3. The difference in the component of outcomes being followed up by the healthcare providers at five of the health centers was statistically significant (p=0.000); however, there were no significant differences found among the satisfaction and awareness of the women who participated at the five health centers. 

Conclusion: The results showed that the performance of health personnel in providing preconception care and providing follow-up care was not satisfactory.

 

Key words: Quality of care; Preconception care; Reproductive age women; Healthcare centers
 
 
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