Bedouin-Arab women's access to antenatal care at the interface of physical and structural barriers: A pilot study Academic Article uri icon


  • Since 2000, the Israeli Public Health Services have established eight Maternal-and-Child-Health (MCH) stations in unrecognised Bedouin-Arab villages in South Israel in order to reduce barriers to healthcare. The goals of this pilot study were: (1) to explore the new MCH stations' impact on antenatal care (ANC) accessibility; and (2) to compare access to ANC between women from villages with MCH stations and women from villages without MCH stations. The study combined quantitative and qualitative methods including structured interviews with 174 MCH service users, review of 158 ANC records and 16 in-depth interviews with Bedouin-Arab women. The establishment of MCH stations in unrecognised villages has improved physical access to ANC and secondarily diminished other barriers related to financial and sociocultural dimensions of women's access to healthcare, thus enhancing women's options for independent healthcare-seeking; yet, limited opening hours, staff shortages and communication problems hamper ANC delivery at the new MCH stations. This pilot study indicates that the MCH stations' establishment in unrecognised villages was a successful intervention, which improved women's access to ANC. Even though current service delivery challenges need to be overcome to achieve the intervention's full potential, its replication should be considered in further villages.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011