Mapping Evidence on the Determinants of Postnatal Care Knowledge among Postpartum Women in sub-Saharan Africa: A Literature Review

  •  Enos Moyo    
  •  Perseverance Moyo    
  •  Tafadzwa Dzinamarira    
  •  Grant Murewanhema    
  •  Andrew Ross    


Maternal and neonatal deaths continue to pose significant public health challenges globally. In 2020, low-to-middle-income countries accounted for over 95% of all maternal deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the region most severely impacted, accounting for 70% of global maternal deaths in 2020. Most of the maternal deaths and about a third of child deaths occur in the postnatal period. These unnecessary deaths can be avoided if postpartum women have adequate knowledge about postnatal care (PNC). This literature review’s aim was to determine the factors that influence PNC knowledge among postpartum women in SSA. The methodology of this literature review was loosely guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P) statement. Peer-reviewed articles describing determinants of PNC knowledge among postpartum women in SSA published in English between 2013 and 2023 were searched using several search engines. All the twenty-five articles used in this literature review reported on quantitative cross-sectional studies. Some of the individual-level determinants of PNC knowledge identified in this review include place of residence, age of the mother, marital status, educational status of the mother, and the socio-economic status of the woman while the health system-level determinants include distance to a healthcare facility, source of PNC information, place of delivery, and previous maternal healthcare service experience. To improve PNC knowledge of postpartum women, we recommend developing rural areas through improving transport networks, improving the socio-economic status of women, and devising strategies to increase maternal and child health services utilization.

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