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Determining the effective coverage of maternal and child health services in Kenya, using demographic and health survey data sets: tracking progress towards universal health coverage
Authors: Nguhiu PK, Barasa EW, and Chuma J
Source: Tropical Medicine and International Health, published online 2017 Jan 17; doi: 10.1111/tmi.12841
Topic(s): Child health
Health care utilization
Maternal health
Women's health
Country: Africa
Published: JAN 2017
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: Effective coverage (EC) is a measure of health systems' performance that combines need, use and quality indicators. This study aimed to assess the extent to which the Kenyan health system provides effective and equitable maternal and child health services, as a means of tracking the country's progress towards universal health coverage. METHODS AND RESULTS: The Demographic Health Surveys (2003, 2008-2009 and 2014) and Service Provision Assessment surveys (2004, 2010) were the main sources of data. Indicators of need, use and quality for eight maternal and child health interventions were aggregated across interventions and economic quintiles to compute EC. EC has increased from 26.7% in 2003 to 50.9% in 2014, but remains low for the majority of interventions. There is a reduction in economic inequalities in EC with the highest to lowest wealth quintile ratio decreasing from 2.41 in 2003 to 1.65 in 2014, but maternal health services remain highly inequitable. CONCLUSIONS: Effective coverage of key maternal and child health services remains low, indicating that individuals are not receiving the maximum possible health gain from existing health services. There is an urgent need to focus on the quality and reach of maternal and child health services in Kenya to achieve the goals of universal health coverage.