Transportation during obstetric emergencies

Abraham de Jesús, CIET project coordinator, interviews a transportation provider in Xochis as part of the 2008 baseline survey

Travel between rural villages in Xochis and Tlacos, Guerrero, is often difficult due to poor road conditions. Most villagers rely on irregular public transport, including group taxis and vans. During obstetric emergencies women and their families often depend on this transport to travel to larger communities with health centres and hospitals in a timely fashion.

During the 2008 baseline study for Safe Birth in Cultural Safety, we interviewed 42 transport providers from Xochis and Tlacos. Very few of them were aware of any municipal programs to help women with complications deliver in the first level hospital in the town of Xochis or in the second level hospital in Ometepec.

The majority of providers indicated that they could transport women in obstetric emergencies for little or no cost—essentially, reimbursements for gasoline expenses. Most stated that a program would function best if coordinated by municipal authorities and health workers.

Based on the results of the baseline, we built on an existing arrangement between public health jurisdiction and the transport providers. We negotiated a system to improve transport conditions in cases of obstetric emergencies with local transport providers and the municipal government. However, during the period of the intervention, we did not receive any request to use these services. Any emergencies that may have occurred were resolved in another way.