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J Korean Med Sci. 2014 Jun;29(6):764-70. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2014.29.6.764. Epub 2014 May 30.

An early stage evaluation of the Supporting Program for Obstetric Care Underserved Areas in Korea.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Konyang University, Daejeon, Korea.
Department of Public Health, The Graduate School, Konyang University, Daejeon, Korea.
Public Health Medical Service, Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.


"The Supporting Program for Obstetric Care Underserved Areas (SPOU)" provides financial aids to rural community (or district) hospitals to reopen prenatal care and delivery services for regions without obstetrics and gynecology clinics or hospitals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the early stage effect of the SPOU program. The proportion of the number of birth through SPOU was calculated by each region. Also survey was conducted to investigate the extent of overall satisfaction, elements of dissatisfaction, and suggestions for improvement of the program; 209 subjects participated from 7 to 12 December, 2012. Overall, 20% of pregnant women in Youngdong (71 cases) and Gangjin (106 cases) used their community (or district) hospitals through the SPOU whereas Yecheon (23 cases) was 8%; their satisfaction rates were high. Short distance and easy accessibility was the main reason among women choosing community (or district) hospital whereas the reasons of not selecting the community (or district) hospital were favor of the outside hospital's facility, system, and trust in the medical staffs. The SPOU seems to be currently effective at an early stage. However, to successfully implement this program, the government should make continuous efforts to recruit highly qualified medical staffs and improve medical facility and equipment.


Delivery, Obstetric; Financing, Government; Hospitals, Community; Medically Underserved Area; Prenatal Care

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