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      Can she make it? Transportation barriers to accessing maternal and child health care services in rural Ghana

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          Abstract

          Background

          The Ghana Community based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) strategy targets to bring health services to the doorsteps of clients in a manner that improves maternal and child health outcomes. In this strategy, referral is an important component but it is threatened in a rural context where transportation service is a problem. Few studies have examined perceptions of rural dwellers on transportation challenges in accessing maternal health care services within CHPS.

          Methods

          Using the political ecology of health framework, this paper investigates transportation barriers in health access in a rural context based on perceived cause, coping mechanisms and strategies for a sustainable transportation system. Eight (8) focus group discussions involving males ( n = 40) and females ( n = 45) in rural communities in a CHPS zone in the Upper West Region of Ghana were conducted between September and December 2013.

          Results

          Lack of vehicular transport is suppressing the potential positive impact of CHPS on maternal and child health. Consistent neglect of road infrastructural development and endemic poverty in the study area makes provision of alternative transport services for health care difficult. As a result, pregnant women use risky methods such as bicycle/tricycle/motorbikes to access obstetric health care services, and some turn to traditional medicines and traditional birth attendants for maternal health care services.

          Conclusion

          These findings underscore the need for policy to address rural transport problems in order to improve maternal health. Community based transport strategy with CHPS is proposed to improve adherence to referral and access to emergency obstetric services.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Too far to walk: maternal mortality in context.

           S Thaddeus,  D Maine (1994)
          The Prevention of Maternal Mortality Program is a collaborative effort of Columbia University's Center for Population and Family Health and multidisciplinary teams of researchers from Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Program goals include dissemination of information to those concerned with preventing maternal deaths. This review, which presents findings from a broad body of research, is part of that activity. While there are numerous factors that contribute to maternal mortality, we focus on those that affect the interval between the onset of obstetric complication and its outcome. If prompt, adequate treatment is provided, the outcome will usually be satisfactory; therefore, the outcome is most adversely affected by delayed treatment. We examine research on the factors that: (1) delay the decision to seek care; (2) delay arrival at a health facility; and (3) delay the provision of adequate care. The literature clearly indicates that while distance and cost are major obstacles in the decision to seek care, the relationships are not simple. There is evidence that people often consider the quality of care more important than cost. These three factors--distance, cost and quality--alone do not give a full understanding of decision-making process. Their salience as obstacles is ultimately defined by illness-related factors, such as severity. Differential use of health services is also shaped by such variables as gender and socioeconomic status. Patients who make a timely decision to seek care can still experience delay, because the accessibility of health services is an acute problem in the developing world. In rural areas, a woman with an obstetric emergency may find the closest facility equipped only for basic treatments and education, and she may have no way to reach a regional center where resources exist. Finally, arriving at the facility may not lead to the immediate commencement of treatment. Shortages of qualified staff, essential drugs and supplies, coupled with administrative delays and clinical mismanagement, become documentable contributors to maternal deaths. Findings from the literature review are discussed in light of their implications for programs. Options for health programs are offered and examples of efforts to reduce maternal deaths are presented, with an emphasis on strategies to mobilize and adapt existing resources.
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            Still too far to walk: Literature review of the determinants of delivery service use

            Background Skilled attendance at childbirth is crucial for decreasing maternal and neonatal mortality, yet many women in low- and middle-income countries deliver outside of health facilities, without skilled help. The main conceptual framework in this field implicitly looks at home births with complications. We expand this to include "preventive" facility delivery for uncomplicated childbirth, and review the kinds of determinants studied in the literature, their hypothesized mechanisms of action and the typical findings, as well as methodological difficulties encountered. Methods We searched PubMed and Ovid databases for reviews and ascertained relevant articles from these and other sources. Twenty determinants identified were grouped under four themes: (1) sociocultural factors, (2) perceived benefit/need of skilled attendance, (3) economic accessibility and (4) physical accessibility. Results There is ample evidence that higher maternal age, education and household wealth and lower parity increase use, as does urban residence. Facility use in the previous delivery and antenatal care use are also highly predictive of health facility use for the index delivery, though this may be due to confounding by service availability and other factors. Obstetric complications also increase use but are rarely studied. Quality of care is judged to be essential in qualitative studies but is not easily measured in surveys, or without linking facility records with women. Distance to health facilities decreases use, but is also difficult to determine. Challenges in comparing results between studies include differences in methods, context-specificity and the substantial overlap between complex variables. Conclusion Studies of the determinants of skilled attendance concentrate on sociocultural and economic accessibility variables and neglect variables of perceived benefit/need and physical accessibility. To draw valid conclusions, it is important to consider as many influential factors as possible in any analysis of delivery service use. The increasing availability of georeferenced data provides the opportunity to link health facility data with large-scale household data, enabling researchers to explore the influences of distance and service quality.
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              Case study research. Design and methods

               RK YIN,  R. Yin,  Robert Yin (1994)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                katuoye@uwo.ca
                jenna.dixon@uwaterloo.ca
                arishworth@uwaterloo.ca
                sylvestergalaa@yahoo.com
                sboamah@uwo.ca
                iluginaa@uwo.ca
                Journal
                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central (London )
                1472-6963
                20 August 2015
                20 August 2015
                2015
                : 15
                Affiliations
                [ ]Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, London, ON N6A 5C2 Canada
                [ ]School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1 Canada
                [ ]Department of Geography, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1 Canada
                [ ]Department of Integrated Development Studies, University for Development Studies, Wa Campus, Upper West Region, Ghana
                [ ]Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Health Services Addition, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 5C1 Canada
                Article
                1005
                10.1186/s12913-015-1005-y
                4545969
                26290436
                © Atuoye et al. 2015

                Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2015

                Health & Social care

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