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Transport delays identified as barrier in access to health services for rural women

LAHORE: Pakistan, with a population of almost 180 million, is world’s sixth most populous country where maternal and newborn child health situation is still a cause for concern. In the country, more than 320 mothers in every 100,000 live births die during pregnancy, childbirth and soon after, leaving behind devastated families. Similarly, nearly 78 children per 1,000 live births die before reaching their first birthday.

Maternal and newborn health efforts in developing countries remain highly deficient, particularly in rural areas and the urban slums. Distance to health facilities, non-availability or high costs of transport hamper women’s timely access to emergency health services. In addition, the average distance to a reproductive health facility in rural areas is almost four times the distance in urban areas. This makes access to services for the rural woman extremely difficult.

Research and Advocacy Firm (RAF), with its mandate to identify research and advocacy gaps in maternal and newborn health, has identified transport-related delays as major barrier in accessing the health services. Contech International Health Consultants has been assigned to conduct an insight and in-depth study and research of these barriers to devise locally relevant interventions to overcome them to enhance access to Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EmONC) services and to recommend scalability of successful transport interventions.

Through this study, Contech will explore availability, access and use of transport in health emergencies; to understand perceptions, behaviours and decision making related to referral transport in health emergencies; to determine pathways for removal of barriers to transport in health emergencies; to estimate association between transport barriers and specific health outcomes; and to identify transport interventions having potential for scalability to improve health outcomes in poor and marginalised households.

Daily Times

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