Explaining Inequity in the Use of Institutional Delivery Services in Selected Countries


Author(s): Do M, Soelaeman R, Hotchkiss DR

Year: 2014

Matern Child Health J.  2014 Jul 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Wealth-related disparities in the use of reproductive health services remain a substantial problem in many low- and middle-income countries. Very few studies have attempted to explain such inequalities through decomposition of the contributions made by various individual- and household-level factors. This study aims to: (1) assess the degree of wealth-related inequality and inequity in the use of institutional delivery services in selected low- and middle-income countries, and (2) to explain wealth-related inequity through decomposition by the contributions made by various components, including health insurance coverage. Data come from Demographic and Health Surveys in three countries: Ghana, Rwanda, and the Philippines. Concentration indices are used to calculate inequality and horizontal inequity in service utilization. Multivariate methods are used to decompose inequity. Findings indicate a moderate to high degree of inequity in institutional delivery service use in all study countries. The study provides some evidence of the contribution of health insurance to increased wealth-related inequity in the use of institutional delivery services, although having health insurance was also associated with increased utilization of services. Results suggest that increased health insurance coverage does not automatically translate to lower wealth-related inequity in service utilization. Inequities in service utilization exist if there are still inequities in the health insurance status. The study advocates for expanding health insurance coverage, particularly among the poor to reduce inequity in insurance coverage and increase service utilization.

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