Examining the "urban advantage" in maternal health care in developing countries

Matthews, Zoë and Channon, Amos and Neal, Sarah and Osrin, David and Madise, Nyovani and Stones, William (2010) Examining the "urban advantage" in maternal health care in developing countries. PLOS Medicine, 7 (9). e1000327. ISSN 1549-1277 (https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000327)

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As the global urban population surpasses the rural, continuing growth in most developing countries means an inevitable increase in urban births. The majority of births in many countries will not be in remote rural areas, but in towns and cities [1]. Far from being good news for the twin Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of maternal and child health—neither of which is currently on track for success [2]—high levels of urbanisation are likely to be associated with increased exclusion from care for many mothers in poor countries, and continued high maternal and newborn mortality among the urban poor. Health and social services in urban areas have not kept pace with urban population growth [3,4]. Women in slum communities can find care difficult to access even though a well-functioning health infrastructure is located nearby, and in some cases the urban poor have less access to services than people who live in rural areas [5–7].