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Level of inequality and the role of governance indicators in the coverage of reproductive maternal and child healthcare services: Findings from India
Authors: Sumirtha Gandhi, Tulasi Malini Maharatha, Umakant Dash, Suresh Babu M.
Source: PLOS ONE , Volume 16, issue 11; DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0258244
Topic(s): Child health
Health equity
Reproductive health
Country: Asia
Published: NOV 2021
Abstract: Background: Diligent monitoring of inequalities in the coverage of essential reproductive, maternal, new-born and child health related (RMNCH) services becomes imperative to smoothen the journey towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this study, we aim to measure the magnitude of inequalities in the coverage of RMNCH services. We also made an attempt to divulge the relationship between the various themes of governance and RMNCH indices. Methods: We used National Family Health Survey dataset (2015-16) and Public Affairs Index (PAI), 2016 for the analysis. Two summative indices, namely Composite Coverage Index (CCI) and Co-Coverage (Co-Cov) indicator were constructed to measure the RMNCH coverage. Slope Index of Inequality (SII) and Relative Index of Inequality (RII) were employed to measure inequality in the distribution of coverage of RMNCH. In addition, we have used Spearman's rank correlation matrix to glean the association between governance indicator and coverage indices. Results & conclusions: Our study indicates an erratic distribution in the coverage of CCI and Co-Cov across wealth quintiles and state groups. We found that the distribution of RII values for Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal hovered around 1. Whereas, RII values for Haryana was 2.01 indicating maximum inequality across wealth quintiles. Furthermore, the essential interventions like adequate antenatal care services (ANC4) and skilled birth attendants (SBA) were the most inequitable interventions, while tetanus toxoid and Bacilli Calmette- Guerin (BCG) were least inequitable. The Spearman's rank correlation matrix demonstrated a strong and positive correlation between governance indicators and coverage indices.