This study sought to investigate the service quality expectations and perceptions for Ante Natal Care patients at Mberengwa District Hospital. This was, in the main a qualitative study in which the knowledge and practices of Ante Natal Care patients were sought so as to establish their opinions, beliefs and ideas towards the service quality at the Health Care facilities in Mberengwa District in the Midlands Province. It is from a target population of 110 subjects who are Ante Natal Care patients that a sample size of 100 was extracted. The response rate was a surprising 63.64%. The specific objectives which this study sought to ascertain were; to understand the customer expectations of service quality, to investigate the customer perceptions of service quality and to investigate the client satisfaction level of ANC patients at 39 rural Health Centres in Mberengwa. The main research instruments used in this study were the questionnaire. One questionnaire was constructed for the Ante Natal Care patients. The findings were as follows: that Ante Natal had high expectations of the service delivery by the Mberengwa District Hospital. Patients had high expectations of the service delivery right from the time they phoned to try to make an appointment, the time they got to the reception to receive service, the care they got from the Dr or Senior Nurse, the health facility working hours well, the waiting times in the queue, and whether if they would recommend the health care facility to fellow patients. As for the perceptions, after visiting the Health Care it was noted that their perceptions dropped the minute they visited the health care facility. Indeed they rated the reception they got to be poor, there was no appointment system, the working hours were odd, certainly not what the customer expected. Patients could not see a specific Dr. or senior if they wanted to, the waiting period before being attended by the Health Care Worker was rated very poor by the ANC patients, the Health Care worker did not give the patients to explain their situation. In the end the ANC patients rated the overall service that they got at their local health Care facility to be poor, if they had a choice they would definitely not visit that health care facility again, finally the majority of respondents clearly stated that they would never recommend their local health Care facility. The following recommendations were made, Mberengwa District health authorities should improve their staff training programmes in customer care, Secondly the Mberengwa health care facilities should have flexible and extended working hours, and also the staffing levels should be increased so that ANC patients do not wait indefinitely for service. The system should be arranged in such a way that a patient should be able to book their appointment in advance to see a Dr of their choice.
Kufakwanguzvarova Wilbert Pomerai
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