Health Services Quality
Poor quality of care is a critical barrier to women and children’s utilisation of health services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Waiting times, administrative inefficiency, weak or insensitive case management, drug stock-out, equipment shortages and poor condition of facilities have all been shown to restrict the intended benefits of universal health coverage. Quality considerations are as important as direct and indirect costs in determining health-seeking behaviour, yet still do not receive the same attention from health planners as service coverage and affordability. The beneficiaries of reproductive, maternal and child health services are often the most vulnerable. Women and children have the right to safe, effective, patient-centered health services that respect their needs, perspectives and dignity.
Women deserve a medical service which focuses around their needs, is safe and effective and meets their expectations. In addition, the service must be efficient, local and one in which the woman’s informed choice is respected, where practical.