The emergency caesarean section transport system at Meru District Hospital

Maternal health services video blog from the field: Tanzania, 2013

This film documents the process behind patient transportation for emergency maternal health services at Meru District Hospital near Arusha, Tanzania. Due to resource shortages and lacking infrastructure, women needing an emergency caesarean section must often wait for precious minutes while the staff search the entire hospital grounds for the one transportation cot that is available there. Once it is located and brought to the maternity ward, the women must be transported over a long distance from the maternity ward to the major surgical theater where caesarian sections are performed.

This dangerous and uncomfortable process demonstrates the small but very significant problems—often overlooked in the face of Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other high-profile diseases—that require attention. Just imagine how much the hospital experience would improve for women if a) there was a transfer cot always available in the maternity ward and b) there was a covered and smoothly-paved walkway linking the wards to the surgical theater? Ultimately, Meru District Hospital hopes to build a surgical theater adjacent to the maternity ward, but this costly project will have to wait until the funds become available. In the meantime, building covered and smooth walkways to facilitate transport and protect patients from the weather during rains can go such a long way in improving the quality of services at the hospital.

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