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Transportation interventions seek to decrease delay in reaching a health facility for emergency obstetric care and are, thus, believed to contribute to reductions in such adverse pregnancy and childbirth outcomes as maternal deaths, stillbirths, and neonatal mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, there is limited empirical evidence to support this hypothesis. The objective of the proposed review is to summarize and critically appraise evidence regarding the effect of emergency transportation interventions on outcomes of labor and delivery in LMICs.
The following databases will be searched from inception to March 31, 2018: MEDLINE/PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, EBSCO (PsycINFO and CINAHL), the Cochrane Pregnancy and Child Birth Group’s Specialized Register, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. We will search for studies in the grey literature through Google and Google Scholar. We will solicit unpublished reports from such relevant agencies as United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID) among others. Data generated from the search will be managed using Endnote Version 7. We will perform quantitative data synthesis if studies are homogenous in characteristics and provide adequate outcome data for meta-analysis. Otherwise, data will be synthesized, using the narrative synthesis approach.
Among the many barriers that women in LMICs face in accessing life-saving interventions during labor and delivery, lack of access to emergency transportation is particularly important. This review will provide a critical summary of evidence regarding the impact of transportation interventions on outcomes of pregnancy and childbirth in LMICs.
Systematic review registration