Transport issues affecting access to services by the elderly in rural areas : a case study of Maphumulo district.
Nzama, Thobile Immaculate.
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Transport forms an essential element of people's lives. It is transport which determines how people access important resources and it influences the mobility of people. Transport availability improves access to resources and hence fights isolation, which derives from lack of access to resources. This case study examines the influence of transport on access to state grants and health services. The study was based on sample of 170 recipients of state grants and was carried out in September 2000. A quantitative survey through face-to-face interviews of pensioners and other recipients of state grants at two remote rural points was carried out. The results of the study showed that poor road and path infrastructure impacts negatively on old people's access to pension payout points and health services. As a result of poor road infrastructure, people have limited access to alternative means of transport and hence have to pay too much for transport to reach services essential to their livelihoods. In addition to the transport cost these elderly have to pay, they also have an extra burden of having to care for the orphans and unemployed adults staying with them. This puts an enormous pressure on their limited resources and hence deepens the cycle of poverty. The majority of people interviewed were positive about the quality of health service they are receiving and the attitude of health workers. There was no correlation between the quality of services received and the demand for using them. Amongst other things, it has been suggested that locating basic services particularly welfare services and health services nearer rural communities will improve the quality of life and minimize the cost of reaching such services. Furthermore infra structural intervention will impact positively on rural communities by providing them with a wider choice of transport and promoting intermediate means of transport. This will have a positive impact on rural communities by increasing the accessibility of services and improving mobility.