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Persistent Inequity in Maternal Health Care Utilization in Nepal Despite Impressive Overall Gains
Authors: Mats Målqvist, Asha Pun, Hendrikus Raaijmakers, and Ashish Kc
Source: Global Health Action, 10(1): 1356083; DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2017.1356083
Topic(s): Antenatal care
Delivery care
Health care utilization
Health equity
Institutional births
Maternal health
Country: Asia
Published: AUG 2017
Abstract: Background: Maternal health care utilization is at the core of global public health provision and an area of focus in the now-concluded Millennium Development Goal agenda. Objective: This study aims to examine trends in maternal health care utilization over the last 15 years in Nepal, focusing on coverage and equity. Methods: This paper used data from the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) 2001, 2006 and 2011 and Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), 2014. Coverage rates were calculated and logistic regression models used to examine inequity. Results: Impressive gains were found in antenatal care (ANC) attendance, which increased from nearly half of women attending (49%) in 2001 to 88% in 2014, and the rate of facility delivery increased from just 7-44%. This development did not, however, influence the equity gap in ANC and skilled attendance at birth, as women from low socioeconomic backgrounds were six times more likely to deliver without skilled assistance than those from high socioeconomic backgrounds (AdjOR 6.38 CI 95% 4.57-8.90) in 2014. Conclusion: These persistent equity gaps call for targeted interventions focusing on the most disadvantaged and vulnerable women in order to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goal of universal health coverage. Keywords: Equity; Nepal; antenatal care; delivery care utilization; maternal health care.