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J Korean Med Assoc. 2016 Jun;59(6):424-428. Korean. Original Article.
Bae JY , Hong SY .
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Daegu Catholic University Medical Center, Daegu, Korea.

In 2011, the government of South Korea established a support program for obstetric care for underserved geographical areas to address the serious problem of the low birth rate. The birth rate of some underserved areas has since been increasing, and several indexes of mother and child health have since improved. However, various problems have also been noted in the evaluation of the policy for this support program. The birth rate of some rural areas remains low, and the inadequacy of professional health care providers has not been resolved. The medical fee for delivery should be rationalized, and countermeasures for medical litigation should be established. Furthermore, better communication between local residents and healthcare providers are necessary to improve maternal and child health. For effective long-term provision of obstetric care through this support program for underserved areas, new outcome and evaluation standards are necessary. Critical requirements for launching an initial support program and outcomes including the birth rate and indices of maternal and child health should be itemized and assessed. Support for health care providers requires expansion including support personnel, the establishment of a transfer system, and measures to address legal problems. A multifaceted approach including regular maternal education and an information network system for local residents is necessary. Future support programs should include total care for maternal and child health, so cooperation of the government offices and health care centers is essential. At the same time, new standards of evaluation of obstetric care support programs for underserved areas need to be established for appropriate evaluation of comprehensive family health.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.