THE ROLE OF TRANSPORTATION IN ACCESSING MATERNAL HEALTH SERVICES: A CASE STUDY OF SUMBRUNGU HEALTH CLINIC (Published)
The significant contribution of transportation in accessing maternal health service to development and the livelihoods of poor pregnant women in rural areas are widely recognised. However, developing countries are yet to fully acknowledge and understand the role of transport in accessing maternal health services and improving poor people’s health. In the context of the need to step up development activity to meet the Millennium Development Goals, a better understanding of the link between transportation and maternal health services becomes a priority. The research focused on the ways in which transport and road infrastructure play in the overall delivery of and access to maternal health services, and in the effectiveness of the health referral process. Many households do not have the reliable, suitable, and affordable transport services that are essential for access to care during the critical prenatal and neonatal periods. Emergency access to maternal health care is also critical because many pregnant-related complications are unpredictable and many women spend excessive time trying to reach a health facility with the capacity to treat obstetric or infant complications. Various financial, social, infrastructural and institutional factors of supply and demand can impose severe constraints on the effectiveness of transport as such; poor families often cannot afford the cost of transport to health facilities. As a consequence, walking remains the primary mode of transportation for pregnant women thereby severely limiting their ability to reach needed care.