Addressing quality of care in urban settings

Research on maternal health in urban settings.
Mothers at Risk

Together with Mothers at Risk (MaR), Scope carried out research on maternal health in urban informal settings with a focus on improving access to respectful maternal and newborn care.

The rapid urbanisation taking place across the world, is changing the nature of preventable maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity. People migrating to cities face a profoundly different environment from the rural areas they have left behind, including the means of managing health as well as their access to services. Some of the characteristics posed in urban settings, including inadequate housing, poor sanitary conditions, and overcrowding, have drastic consequences for maternal and newborn health (MNH). In addition, the lack of a functioning public health system able to address the needs of the urban poor has resulted in the proliferation of unlicensed private facilities with poor standards of care, expensive services and little accountability. Moreover, the various socio-cultural and economic factors affecting care seeking behaviour mean that for many slum dwellers, access to quality health care remains out of reach. Despite this, research on MNH in urban settings is scant and there is little knowledge of how the unique dynamics of urban life affect the health of women and children.  

It is against this backdrop that Scope identified existing barriers and enablers for improved maternal and neonatal health outcomes in urban low-resource settings with a focus on improved access to quality services and respectful care. The research project sheds  light on the current landscape of MNH policies and projects in under-served urban communities, and explore innovative MNH interventions in Africa, Asia and South America through case studies and project concepting.

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