Maternity services in Australian rural sectors have undergone considerable change in the recent past. Data furnished in the report for the year 2014-2015, has paid attention to certain perinatal indicators that represent the performances that are taking place in the relevant domain. Among the ten performance indicators, indicator 2 that accounts for describing the rate of term infants without congenital anomalies who require additional care may be selected for an elaborate discussion, focusing on the pivotal issue of maternity services that are in vogue in the rural area hospitals in Australia. According to the published data, it is evident that there remains considerable variation as far as rate of term infants having no congenital anomalies who are in need of additional care across public health hospitals accounting for about 0% to 21.8%. Further, it has been depicted that ten state-wise rate of public hospitals has gone up from 71% in 2007-2008 to about 8.5% in 2014-2015, thereby suggesting the prevalence of quality of care services that are available during labor, at the time of birth, as well as in immediate neonatal period. The time span following immediate after birth, some of the babies might develop symptoms and encounter certain medical problems that cannot be resolved with the realm of usual care services that are normally meant for the babies born without any congenital abnormalities or other related complications. Instead, superior and specialized medical interventions are desirable to effectively deal with such neonates. Therefore, admission to special care nursery or neonatal intensive care unit may be necessary under such circumstances to resolve the ensuing situation. The term infant terminology is applicable to newborns that are born after 37 weeks of gestation. Hence, timely evaluation and review of this performance indicator is a welcome measure to understand the extent to which the health services might adopt definite strategies to detect whether there are avoidable reasons circumscribing the higher care needs for babies. The scenario specific to the rural maternity services as opposed to the metropolitan hospitals in terms of providing maternity services to the concerned population reveals that definite confounding factors impact on the quality of the facilities delivered within the framework of healthcare. However, empirical evidences have shown that Australian rural maternity units across a timeframe of past 20 years have shut down owing to safety issues in addition to impact of paraphernalia that encompass cost incurred and healthcare staff shortage even though the overall infant mortality rate has reduced drastically in Australia. The step of shifting the maternity services from the rural zones to the metropolitan areas may be cited as a regressive measure because rural women are more prone to face obstetric challenges in contrast with the urban women.
The suitable financial and technical resources are capable of providing both effective and safe maternity services in the context of rural healthcare framework. Moreover, it has been shown that for mothers aged less than 20 years, the need for safe and accessible maternity care is particularly high in remote and rural areas. Survey for the National Rural Health Alliance and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia for the year 2010, represented that only 12% expressed satisfaction of access to quality maternity services, thereby suggesting the disapproval of the availability of adequate resource to ensure quality service for the concerned group within their own community settings. Closure of maternity services in the rural areas is not an economic measure as per the perception of the community dwellers and their families on the part of the healthcare system for the sake of sustainable regional development. Workforce strengthening and actions taken in keeping with the changing times must be taken by the rural hospitals to enhance the health related outcome and ensure wellbeing. Therefore, this performance indicator should be implemented in the rural hospital scenario to evaluate the ongoing maternity services.