“Childbirth is inherently a risky moment. A complication that can lead to the death of the child or mother develops in around 15% of deliveries. These complications are well understood, and there are clear treatment protocols. In a good hospital, the risk of maternal death is close to zero. But at home in a village, far from the nearest road, the chances of obtaining care in time to ensure the survival of both mother and child are severely compromised.”
In 2014, two-thirds of Punjabi women in the poorest quintile delivered at home with no medical care. To address this, the Government operationalised a network of 1,300 basic health facilities in rural areas ready and able to help pregnant women give birth. However distance and transport costs remained significant barriers preventing pregnant women from utilizing these facilities. To overcome these barriers, the Government implemented a dedicated maternal and child health ambulance service. The fleet aims to link rural communities with basic health facilities and hospitals; opening up maternal and child healthcare to significant numbers of previously underserved communities.