|Funding Source||Faculty of Health Science Seeding Grant|
Seeding grant of $9,962, funded by the Faculty of Health Science aims to systematic review the literature on women’s needs in maternity care and developed maternity service models in rural areas.
In the last few decades, rural communities in developed countries such as England, Canada and Australia have experienced the closure of obstetric services, forcing thousands of pregnant women to travel for a long distance to a regional centre to access maternal care. The decision to close small maternity units was due to shortages of health care professionals, safety and quality considerations and the cost consideration.
The closure of small maternity units negatively affects the well-being of mothers and their babies who, have to leave their familiar environment, their community and their family to a larger centre to get obstetric services. Research has also demonstrated various adverse effects associated with travel for rural parturient women, including stress, financial loss, separation from spouse, children and community, and lack of continuity of care. In addition, the loss of maternity services also affects the sustainability of rural communities.
In the area of biomedical research alone, over two million biomedical papers are published each year, making it an impossible task for policy makers and health professionals to readily access and synthesise relevant evidence. Reviews with strong validity are needed to provide manageable information for them. There are numerous publications on maternity care in rural areas. Thus, the use of systematic reviews is needed for strengthening research evidence which opens new windows for future research and provides solid evidence for health policy makers and health care professionals.
Dr H. Hoang and Dr C. Ogden
Authorised by the Director, Department of Rural Health
19 November, 2012