9.2.2 Knowing about local health facilities
To be really effective in your referrals you will need a list of all the health centres and any hospitals in your catchment area, together with information about the services each of them offers. This is so that if, for example, you deliver a very low birth weight baby, you immediately know which health facility has the right capacity, equipment and trained staff to give emergency care to very tiny babies. This information enables you to refer the mother and baby quickly to the right place.
What could happen if you don’t have information about the services offered at a higher-level health facility?
The main risk is of sending a sick mother or baby on a difficult and expensive journey, only for them to discover that the health facility does not have the appropriate care services. This could be disastrous because it means so much precious time will have already been lost on the road.
To sum up, for there to be the best chance of a positive outcome, all health workers in the community need to know how to refer their patients and exactly where to refer them so they can receive appropriate services to meet their needs.