This dissertation is based on studying the impact of illiteracy in accessing of maternal health care which leads to maternal mortality In this regard it is necessary first to develop clear perception about the concepts related with the issue. Keeping in view this need, this section consists of review of the literature that is focused on the relations between illiteracy and maternal health care. The section further unfolds the impacts of illiteracy on health care in general and then discusses the trends in maternal mortality figures, the perceived causes of these trends and current rates of illiteracy so that with the help of the review of related research works, a picture can be portrayed where all the players could be identified and most important the gap in the literature could also be witnessed.
2.1 Impact of illiteracy on access of health care.
The impact of illiteracy on access of health care has not been a widely researched topic with most studies being done in the United States of America and a the few done in Africa focusing on illiteracy as a challenge in the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDs Many patients face great difficulties in understanding health in formation and navigating the health care system. Nearly 2 decades of research have linked limited literacy with challenges in health care, including lower health knowledge, misinterpretation of prescriptions, and lower receipt of preventive services. (Kripalani et al, 2006) Only in the last few years has health literacy—defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions”.(Healthy People, 2010) Most studies on this topic in Africa have looked as illiteracy as challenge to treatment in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Studies done by UNFPA have shown that educated women are more likely to know how to prevent HIV infection, to delay sexual activity and to take measures to protect themselves. Education also accelerates a behavior change among young men, making them more receptive to prevention messages. The studies also that Universal primary substitute for expanded HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, but it is a necessary component that complements these efforts. According to the Global Campaign for Education, “research shows that a primary education is the minimum threshold needed to benefit from [health information] programmes. Not only is a basic education essential to be able to process and evaluate information, it also gives the most marginalized groups in society—notably young women—the status and confidence needed to act on information and refuse unsafe sex.” A 32-country study found that women with post-primary education were five times more likely than illiterate women to know facts about HIV/AIDS. Illiterate women, on the other hand, were four times more likely to believe that there is no way to prevent HIV infection. Much of the research that has focused on women and education also shows that post-primary education has the most impact, providing the greatest pay-off for women’s empowerment. Higher levels of education provide much more than specific information on HIV transmission. They also provide adults and young people with the larger life skills they need to make informed choices and to develop both economic and intellectual independence. Girls and women gain self-esteem along with knowledge. They are able to prepare for the work force, better able to protect their families’ health and less likely to die during childbirth than those who are less educated. They are also more likely to marry at a later age. Girls with less than seven years of schooling are more likely to be married by age 18, and early marriage is directly linked to an increased risk of HIV infection In a study done in Kenya,
2.2 Trends in illiteracy figures
2.3 Trends in maternal mortality figures.