Health Workers’ Perspectives on Infrastructure to Support Maternal Health Services in Rural Areas of Vietnam
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Background: One common governance issue faced by developing countries is the establishment and maintenance of infrastructure to support the delivery of primary health services. This qualitative study explores the perspective of maternal health workers on how infrastructure impacts the provision of maternity services in rural areas in Vietnam.
Methods: Forty-one health workers and health managers at the commune, district and provincial levels of the Vietnamese public health system were interviewed. Questions focused on the impact of various organisational factors, including the impact of infrastructure on the performance of the health workforce, which provides publicly funded primary care. All interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded for thematic analysis.
Findings: Participants noted that infrastructure directly affected their ability to perform certain tasks and could both directly and indirectly negatively impact their motivation. In general, participants noted a lack of investment in infrastructure for the provision of primary care services in rural areas. They identified that there were deficits in the availability of utilities and the adequacy of facilities.
Conclusion: This research contributes to understanding the barriers to the provision of primary care in developing countries and in particular. The current inadequacy of facility buildings and inadequacy of clean water supply are issues for health workers in meeting the technical requirements of the standards as set out in the National Guidelines on reproductive health, and lead to safety concerns for the quality of maternal health services provided in commune health centres and District Health Centres.
Abbreviations: CHC – Commune Health Centres; DHC – District Health Centre; HW – Health Worker.