Effects of Improved Access to Transportation on Emergency obstetric Care Outcomes in Uganda
Reduction in maternal mortality has not been appreciable in most low-income countries. Improved access to transport for mothers is one way to improve maternal health. This study evaluated a free-of-charge 24-hour ambulance and communication services intervention in Oyam district using ‘Caesarean section rate’ (CSR) and compared with the neighbouring non-intervention district. Ecological data were collected retrospectively from maternity/theatre registers in October 2010 for 3 years pre and 3 years intervention period. The average CSR in the intervention district increased from 0.57% before the intervention to 1.21% (p=0.022) during the intervention, while there was no change in the neighbouring district (0.51% to 0.58%, p=0.512). Hospital deliveries increased by over 50% per year with a slight reduction in the average hospital stillbirths per 1000 hospital births in the intervention district (46.6 to 37.5, p=0.253). Reliable communication and transport services increased access to and utilization of maternal health services, particularly caesarean delivery services. (Afr J Reprod Health 2014; 18: 87-94)
Keywords: caesarean section, emergency obstetric care, ambulance services, accessibility, referral and communication system
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