Date of Award

Fall 12-21-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Ruiyan Luo

Second Advisor

Dr. Lee Rivers Mobley

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: There is no formal research conducted that accounts for maternal mortality rates in the state of Georgia in association to the distance to hospitals that provide labor and delivery services.

AIM: To raise awareness about the number of maternal deaths that occur in Georgia, provide better geographical and financial access to maternal care to bring about reform.

METHODS: A quantitative secondary analysis integrating the spatial aspect of distance to hospitals from a centroid for each county was used to explore how maternal mortality rates differ across the 159 counties in Georgia, aggregating data from years 2010 to 2016. Other sociodemographic factors such as race and ethnicity, health insurance status along with the socioeconomic status namely education, poverty was considered together with population density. Linear regression along with spatial analysis was used to analyze the effect distance has on maternal mortality rates.

RESULTS: The total maternal mortality rates in the state of Georgia were not dependent on the increasing distance to labor and delivery units (L&D) from 2010-2016. Maternal mortality rates among different races (Non-Hispanic Black, Non-Hispanic White and Hispanic/Latino) did not illustrate a direct relationship with distance to L&D units.

DISCUSSION: More reliable and consistent data should be gathered on maternal mortality rates in addition to viewing cases individually, and factoring in how far each mother has to travel to access quality health care services for a healthy and safe delivery along with the sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors.

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