Background: Pakistan is far behind in achieving the Millennium Development Goals regarding the reduction of child and maternal mortality. Amongst other factors, transport barriers make the requisite obstetric care inaccessible for women during pregnancy and at birth, when complications may become life threatening for mother and child. The significance of efficient transport in maternal and neonatal health calls for identifying which currently implemented transport interventions have potential for scalability.
Methods: A qualitative appraisal of data and information about selected transport interventions generated primarily by beneficiaries, coordinators, and heads of organizations working with maternal, child, and newborn health programs was conducted against the CORRECT criteria of Credibility, Observability, Relevance, Relative Advantage, Easy-Transferability, Compatibility and Testability. Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) techniques were used to analyse seven interventions against operational indicators. Logical inference was drawn to assess the implications of each intervention. QCA was used to determine simplifying and complicating factors to measure potential for scaling up of the selected transport intervention.
Results: Despite challenges like deficient in-journey care and need for greater community involvement, community-based ambulance services were managed with the support of the community and had a relatively simple model, and therefore had high scalability potential. Other interventions, including facility-based services, public-sector emergency services, and transport voucher schemes, had limitations of governance, long-term sustainability, large capital expenditures, and need for management agencies that adversely affected their scalability potential.
Conclusion: To reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality and increase accessibility of health facilities, it is important to build effective referral linkages through efficient transport systems. Effective linkages between community-based models, facility-based models, and public sector emergency services should be established to provide comprehensive coverage. Voucher scheme integrated with community-based services may bring improvements in service utilization.
Health Research Policy and Systems
(2015). Determining the potential scalability of transport interventions for improving maternal, child, and newborn health in Pakistan. Health Research Policy and Systems, 13(57), 75-98.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/coe-wch/1