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Health Insurance, Socio-Economic Position and Racial Disparities in Preventive Dental Visits in South Africa
Authors: Imade J. Ayo-Yusuf, Olalekan A. Ayo-Yusuf, and Bukola G. Olutola
Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 10(1), 178-191; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010178
Topic(s): Adult health
Race and ethnicity
Country: Africa
  South Africa
Published: JAN 2013
Abstract: This study sought to determine the contributions of socio-economic position and health insurance enrollment in explaining racial disparities in preventive dental visits (PDVs) among South Africans. Data on the dentate adult population participating in the last South African Demographic and Health Survey conducted during 2003–2004 (n = 6,312) was used. Main outcome measure: Reporting making routine yearly PDVs as a preventive measure. Education, material wealth index and nutritional status indicated socio-economic position. Multi-level logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine the predictors of PDVs. A variant of Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition analysis was also conducted. Health insurance coverage was most common among Whites (70%) and least common among black Africans (10.1%) in South Africa. Similarly, a yearly PDV was most frequently reported by Whites (27.8%) and least frequently reported among black Africans (3.1%). Lower education and lower material wealth were associated with lower odds of making PDVs. There was significant interaction between location (urban/rural) and education (p = 0.010). The racial and socio-economic differences in PDVs observed in urban areas were not observed in rural areas. In the general dentate population, having health insurance significantly increased the odds of making PDVs (OR = 4.32; 3.04–6.14) and accounted for 40.3% of the White/non-White gap in the probability of making PDVs. Overall, socio-economic position and health insurance enrollments together accounted for 55.9% (95% CI = 44.9–67.8) of the White/non-White gap in PDVs. Interventions directed at improving both socio-economic position and insurance coverage of non-White South Africans are likely to significantly reduce racial disparities in PDVs.