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Access to health: Women’s status and utilization of maternal health services in Nepal
Authors: Sharma, S.K. Y. Sawangdee, B. Sirirassamee
Source: Journal of Biosocial Science, forthcoming
Topic(s): Health care utilization
Maternal health
Women's status
Country: Asia
Published: OCT 2007
Abstract: With the objective of reducing maternal and neonatal mortality, the Safe Motherhood Program was implemented in Nepal in 1997. It was launched as a priority programme during the ninth five-year plan period, 1997–2002, with the aim of increasing women’s access to health care and raising their status. This paper examines the association of access to health services and women’s status with utilization of prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care during the plan period. The 1996 Nepal Family Health Survey and the 2001 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey data were pooled and the likelihood of women’s using maternal health care was examined in 2001 in comparison with 1996. Multiple logistic regression analysis indicates that the utilization of maternal health services increased over the period. Programme interventions such as outreach worker’s visits, radio programmes on maternal health, maternal health information disseminated through various mass media sources and raising women’s status through education were able to explain the observed change in utilization. Health worker visits and educational status of women showed a large association, but radio programmes and other mass media information were only partially successful in increasing use of maternal health services. Socioeconomic and demographic variables such as household economic status, number of living children and place of residence showed stronger association with use of maternal health services then did intervention programmes.