Maternal and child mortality development goals: what can the transport sector do?

Maternal and child mortality development goals: what can the transport sector do?

Integrated health and transport strategies could help reduce maternal and child mortality rates

This report published by the World Bank focuses on the role of transport and road infrastructure in the delivery of and access to maternal and child health services, and in the effectiveness of the health referral process in developing countries. It finds that many households do not have reliable, suitable, and affordable transport services essential for access to care during critical perinatal and neonatal periods. The authors point out that emergency access to care is particularly vital for women and children because many childbirth-related complications are unpredictable and the majority of births in developing countries take place at home.

The report argues that improved transport and roads for poorly served communities can contribute to reducing maternal and child mortality rates. However, they recommend that transport interventions are planned as part of a long-term integrated health and transport strategy, in order to ensure that essential services are affordable and financially sustainable. The report also recommends that community participation and mobilization are integrated into these plans to ensure that transport arrangements are appropriate and socially acceptable. Improved communications are found to be an important complement, along with linking the transport need of both mothers and newborns [adapted from author].

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