Health Worker Survey Finds Gaps in Facilities’ Maternal Health Supplies

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By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultant

A new article, “Access to essential technologies: a survey of health workers in Africa and Asia,” which was written by Jonathan M Spector, Jonathan Reisman, Stuart Lipsitz, Priya Desai and Atul A Gawande and published today BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth reports the results of a survey of health workers on the availability of essential maternal health commodities in health facilities.  The article highlights two critical points: there were critical gaps in supplies overall, while  reports by health workers in some of the 124 participating facilities suggested that shortcoming were even more severe in some places.

From the article:

Birth centers in lower income countries and those with lower birth volumes were overall less equipped. Birth centers in low volume centers were particularly resource-poor: reliable technologies were available only 52% of the time. While centers with larger birth volumes were overall better equipped, these birth facilities also fell short of universal access to essential equipment, medicines, and supplies.

The authors also point out that since data for this study was collected via an internet survey, and therefore likely represents input from health workers in relatively well-equipped facilities, it is likely an underestimate of the severity of the problem.

For more on essential maternal health supplies, visit the UN Commission on Essential Commodities or click here to watch the October 2012 policy dialogue “Strategic Steps for Global Action on Maternal Health Medicines” sponsored by MHTF, UNFPA, PATH and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.