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Location matters: trends in inequalities in child mortality in Indonesia. Evidence from repeated cross-sectional surveys
Authors: Andrew Hodge, Sonja Firth, Tiara Marthias, and Eliana Jimenez-Soto
Source: PLOS ONE , 9(7): e103597; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103597
Topic(s): Childhood mortality
Children under five
Health care utilization
Health equity
Neonatal mortality
Country: Asia
Published: JUL 2014
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Considerable improvements in life expectancy and other human development indicators in Indonesia are thought to mask considerable disparities between populations in the country. We examine the existence and extent of these disparities by measuring trends and inequalities in the under-five mortality rate and neonatal mortality rate across wealth, education and geography. METHODOLOGY: Using data from seven waves of the Indonesian Demographic and Health Surveys, direct estimates of under-five and neonatal mortality rates were generated for 1980-2011. Absolute and relative inequalities were measured by rate differences and ratios, and where possible, slope and relative indices of inequality. Disparities were assessed by levels of rural/urban location, island groups, maternal education and household wealth. FINDINGS: Declines in national rates of under-five and neonatal mortality have accorded with reductions of absolute inequalities in clusters stratified by wealth, maternal education and rural/urban location. Across these groups, relative inequalities have generally stabilised, with possible increases with respect to mortality across wealth subpopulations. Both relative and absolute inequalities in rates of under-five and neonatal mortality stratified by island divisions have widened. CONCLUSION: Indonesia has made considerable gains in reducing under-five and neonatal mortality at a national level, with the largest reductions happening before the Asian financial crisis (1997-98) and decentralisation (2000). Hasty implementation of decentralisation reforms may have contributed to a slowdown in mortality rate reduction thereafter. Widening inequities between the most developed provinces of Java-Bali and those of other island groupings should be of particular concern for a country embarking on an ambitious plan for universal health coverage by 2019. A focus on addressing the key supply side barriers to accessing health care and on the social determinants of health in remote and disadvantaged regions will be essential for this plan to be realised.