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Providers and women’s perspectives on person-centered maternity care: a mixed methods study in Kenya



Globally, there has been increasing attention to women's experiences of care and calls for a person-centered care approach. At the heart of this approach is the patient-provider relationship. It is necessary to examine the extent to which providers and women agree on the care that is provided and received. Studies have found that incongruence between women's and providers' perceptions may negatively impact women's compliance, satisfaction, and future use of health facilities. However, there are no studies that examine patient and provider perspectives on person-centered care.


To fill this gap in the literature, we use cross-sectional data of 531 women and 33 providers in seven government health facilities in Kenya to assess concordance and discordance in person-centered care measures. Additionally, we analyze 41 in-depth interviews with providers from three of these facilities to examine why differences in reporting may occur. Descriptive statistical methods were used to measure the magnitude of differences between reports of women and reports of providers. Thematic analyses were conducted for provider surveys.


Our findings suggest high discordance between women and providers' perspectives in regard to person-centered care experiences. On average, women reported lower levels of person-centered care compared to providers, including low respectful and dignified care, communication and autonomy, and supportive care. Providers were more likely to report higher rates of poor health facility environment such as having sufficient staff. We summarize the overarching reasons for the divergence in women and provider reports as: 1) different understanding or interpretation of person-centered care behaviors, and 2) different expectations, norms or values of provider behaviors. Providers rationalized abuse towards women, did not allow a companion of choice, and blamed women for poor patient-provider communication. Women lacked assurance in privacy and confidentiality, and faced challenges related to the health facility environment. Providers attributed poor person-centered care to both individual and facility/systemic factors.


Implications of this study suggests that providers should be trained on person-centered care approaches and women should be counseled on understanding patient rights and how to communicate with health professionals.

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