Ethiopia’s government introduced a free delivery service policy to encourage mothers to deliver in health facilities in all public health facilities. Examining the effect of this intervention on the utilization of delivery services is very important. In this study, we assessed the impact of free maternity care services on facility-based delivery service utilization in central Ethiopia.
Data on 108-time points were collected on facility-based delivery service utilization for nine years. Routine monthly data were extracted from the District Health Information System and verified using data from the delivery ward logbooks across the study facilities.
The implementation of the free delivery services policy has significantly increased facility deliveries. During the study period, there was a statistically significant increase in facility-based deliveries after the 24th and 36th months of intervention.
The findings concluded that the provision of free delivery services at public health facilities increased facility delivery use. The improved utilization of facility delivery services was more marked over a more extended exposure period. Policy-makers may consider mobilizing the communities aware of the program at its instigation.