High maternal, neonatal and child mortality rate constituting about 70% of the population in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean rural women have faced challenges in accessing and utilizing Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) services. Rural areas in Zimbabwe have had high prevalence of home deliveries and pregnancy related complications associated with lack of access to and utilization of MNCH services, resulting in high maternal, stillbirths, new-born, neonatal and infant mortality rates. Access to and utilisation of MNCH services and facilities by rural based pregnant women has been limited by several issues that have been explored and assessed in the Primary Health Care clinics. However, the 3 delays (seek, access and receive health service) effects on the factors affecting health care and outcomes remain largely unclear in rural settings. Qualitative and quantitative methods research was conducted in Mutare district, Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe. Data collection tools including interviews questionnaires and focus group discussion guides were used to show how the three delays affected health service access in the district. GraphPad InStat Software and Statistical Package for Social Science were used for data analysis. Religious and cultural beliefs contributed to patient delays in seeking healthcare. With long distances and lack of transport attributed to Delays 1 and 2 with, drug unavailability, up-to date equipment and delay causing Delay 3. The patient, the provider and health systems were critical in accessibility, utilization and linkages of MNCH with other health services being crucial for achieving 4th and 5th Millennium Development Goals the targets.
Key words: Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Services, new-born; neonatal-infant mortality, three-delay model, Mutare District, child bearing Age.
MNCH, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health, MoHCC, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare; EmONC, Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care, PHC, Primary Health Clinic, WCBA, Women of Child Bearing Age.
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