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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versión On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versión impresa ISSN 0256-9574


SCHOON, M G. Impact of inter-facility transport on maternal mortality in the Free State Province. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2013, vol.103, n.8, pp.534-536. ISSN 2078-5135.

AIM: In December 2011, having identified inter-facility transport as a problem in the maternity service, the Free State Department of Health procured and issued 48 vehicles including 18 dedicated to maternity care. Subsequently, a sustained reduction in mortality was observed. We probed the role of inter-facility transport in effecting this reduction in mortality. METHODS: A before-after analysis was performed of data from 2 separate databases, including the district health information system and the emergency medical and rescue services call-centre database. Data were compared for a 12-month prior- and 10-month post-intervention period using descriptive and correlation statistics. RESULTS: The maternal mortality decreased from 279/100 000 live births during 2011 to 152/100 000 live births during 2012. The mean dispatch interval decreased from 32.01 to 22.47 minutes. The number of vehicles dispatched within 1 hour increased from 84.2% to 90.7% (p<0.0001). Monthly mean dispatch interval curves closely mirrored the maternal mortality curve. CONCLUSION: Effective and prompt inter-facility transport of patients with pregnancy complications to an appropriate facility resulted in a reduction of maternal mortality. Health authorities should prioritise funding for inter-facility vehicles for maternity services to ensure prompt access of pregnant women to centres with skills available to manage obstetric emergencies.

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