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Inequalities in the utilisation of maternal health Care in Rural India: Evidences from National Family Health Survey III & IV
Authors: Balhasan Ali, and Shekhar Chauhan
Source: BMC Public Health, 20(369); DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-08480-4
Topic(s): Antenatal care
Health care utilization
Health equity
Mass media
Maternal health
Maternal mortality
Country: Asia
Published: MAR 2020
Abstract: Background Since the implementation of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2005, Maternal Mortality Ratio has significantly declined in India through a noticeable improvement in maternal health care services. However, India did not succeed to achieve the target of millennium development goal to reduced maternal mortality ratio by 2015. Also, there is substantial inequality exist at the regional, geographic, economic, and social level, and various socioeconomic factors contribute to the significantly large share in inequality in utilisation of maternal health care in India. Methods Using data from the National Family Health Survey (2005 and 2015), this study examined the degree of inequality exist in maternal health care namely full antenatal care (full ANC), skilled attendants at birth (SBA), and postnatal care (PNC) in rural India. Descriptive statistics, concentration index (CI), and Wagstaff decomposition method have been performed to understand the pattern of maternal health care utilisation, and to explain the extent of inequality in maternal health care utilisation. Results The study revealed that a substantial gap across socioeconomic groups exist in utilisation of maternal health care has significantly reduced in rural India during 2005–16. The results found a noticeable improvement in maternal health care utilisation, especially in utilisation of skilled attendants at birth (SBA). During this decade, the concentration index for SBA showed a significant decline from 0.28 in 2005–06 to 0.09 in 2015–16, while that of full ANC declined from 0.47 to 0.32 over the same period, and reduction of inequality in full ANC was least. Further, the results of decomposition analysis suggested that secondary and higher education, mass media exposure, and scheduled tribe contributed a significant share to the inequality. Conclusion The exposure to mass media is the most significant contributor to inequality, and hence, there is a need for broad dissemination of awareness regarding maternal health care schemes in rural parts of country. Based on findings of study, it is suggested that health scheme related to maternal and child health care under NRHM be continued and focused for lower socioeconomic groups and marginalized mothers to reduce maternal health services inequality, particularly in the component of full ANC.