|Trends and causes of socioeconomic inequalities in maternal healthcare in Ghana, 2003–2014|
||Ama Pokuaa Fenny, Derek Asuman, Aba Obrumah Crentsil, and Doreen Nyarko Anyamesem Odame
||International Journal of Social Economics, 46(2): 288-308; DOI: 10.1108/IJSE-03-2018-0148
The purpose of this paper is to assess the trends of socioeconomic-related inequalities in maternal healthcare utilization in Ghana between 2003 and 2014 and examine the causes of inequalities in maternal healthcare utilization in Ghana.
Data are drawn from three rounds of the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey collected in 2003, 2008 and 2014, respectively. The authors employ two alternative measures of socioeconomic inequalities in health – the Wagstaff and Erreygers indices – to examine the trends of socioeconomic inequalities in maternal healthcare utilization. The authors proceed to decompose the causes of inequalities in maternal healthcare by applying a recently developed generalized decomposition technique based on recentered influence function regressions.
The study finds substantial pro-rich inequalities in maternal healthcare utilization in Ghana. The degree of inequalities has been decreasing since 2003. The elimination of user fees for maternal healthcare has contributed to achieving equity and inclusion in utilization. The decomposition analysis reveals significant contributions of individual, household and locational characteristics to inequalities in maternal healthcare. The authors find that educational attainment, urban residence and challenges with physical access to healthcare facilities increase the socioeconomic gap in maternal healthcare utilization.
There is a need to target vulnerable women who are unlikely to utilize maternal healthcare services. In addition to the elimination of user fees, there is a need to reduce inequalities in the distribution and quality of maternal health services to achieve universal coverage in Ghana.
Keywords: Ghana, Delivery, Decomposition, Maternal health, Antenatal care, Socioeconomic inequalities