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Utilization of antenatal care services, child survival and their relationship in twenty five states of India
Authors: Kumar, A.G.
Source: Calicut Medical Journal, Vol 3, Num 2, Page: e2
Topic(s): Antenatal care
Child health
Country: Asia
  India
Published:
Abstract: It is useful to conduct periodic assessment of the utilization of antenatal care and its impact on child survival. Hence it is imperative to study the relationship between child survival and utilization of antenatal health care services. The second National Family Health Survey conducted in 1998-99 is used to measure utilization of antenatal care services and its relationship with child survival in twenty-five states of India . This survey collected information from a national representative sample of more than 90,000 ever-married women aged 15-49years. In addition, it collected information about 32,393 children born during the three years preceding the survey. An index was constructed for measuring the utilization of antenatal care and child survival by using child mortality rates. The study reveals that there is a wide disparity in utilization of antenatal care services across various states in India . Utilization of antenatal care services is very low in the east, north, central and northeast regions of India as compared to western and southern regions. Also the child survival rate in the twenty-five states was higher in the southern states, although it was low in the other parts. Based on the findings of the study, it is suggested that active interventions be made to improve the utilization of antenatal care by creating proper awareness regarding the health facilities which are available in these regions and give more education on how and when to utilize these services. These two variables are highly correlated (0.742). As shown in Table: 3 the twenty-five states were divided into four groups. Among the thirteen states with relatively high utilization of antenatal services, ten also has relatively high child survival rate. Nevertheless, another three states relatively had low child survival rate. Moreover, among the twelve states with relatively low utilization of antenatal care services, three had relatively high child survival rate (see Graph 1). As per the usual assumption, the increase in the utilization of antenatal care was an absolute necessity and a sufficient pre-condition for increasing child survival. However, in the present study some of the states with relatively high utilization of antenatal health care services confirm that increasing the utilization of antenatal care does not necessarily increase the child survival. On the contrary states with relatively low utilization of antenatal health care services have relatively high child survival rate. Thus it is observed that these states do not confirm to the widespread assumption that better antenatal care ensures greater child survival. This implies that there may be other factors which either directly or indirectly affects child survival.