International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 343–353 | Cite as

Indigenous women’s access to maternal healthcare services in lower- and middle-income countries: a systematic integrative review

  • Shahinoor AkterEmail author
  • Kate Davies
  • Jane Louise Rich
  • Kerry Jill Inder



Globally, Indigenous people have lower-health status compared to non-Indigenous people due to unequal access to health care. Barriers or enablers to accessing maternal health services by Indigenous women are not well researched. This review aims to determine accessibility and utilisation of maternal primary healthcare services among Indigenous women in lower- and middle-income countries.


We conducted a systematic integrative review of published and grey literature published between 2000 and 2017. Studies on maternal healthcare service utilisation by Indigenous women in lower- and middle-income countries were included. From 3092 articles identified, 10 met the eligibility criteria.


The most prominent barrier to accessing maternal primary healthcare services was the top-down nature of intervention programmes, which made programmes culturally unfriendly for Indigenous women. Distance, cost, transport, accommodation, language barriers and lack of knowledge about existing services also impacted access.


Findings provided insights into understanding the gaps in existing policies for Indigenous women and their access to maternal health services. Results suggested that efforts be made to ensure appropriate programmes for Indigenous women’s maternal health right.


Indigenous women Accessibility Healthcare services Lower- and middle-income countries Maternal health care 



This review paper was conducted as a part of a Ph.D. programme funded by the relevant university’s International Postgraduate Research Scholarship.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The authors did not collect any primary data or undertake research activities that involved human participants or animals in completing this review.

Supplementary material

38_2018_1177_MOESM1_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shahinoor Akter
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Kate Davies
    • 1
  • Jane Louise Rich
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Kerry Jill Inder
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Medicine and Public HealthThe University of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  2. 2.School of Nursing and MidwiferyThe University of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyJagannath UniversityDhakaBangladesh
  4. 4.Hunter Medical Research InstituteNewcastleAustralia
  5. 5.Centre for Research, Health and SafetyThe University of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia

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