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RICH–POOR GAP IN UTILIZATION OF REPRODUCTIVE AND CHILD HEALTH SERVICES IN INDIA, 1992–2005
Authors: S. K. MOHANTY and P. K. PATHAK
Source: Journal of Biosocial Science, 2009, 41:381-398
Topic(s): Child health
Poverty
Reproductive health
Service utilization
Country: Asia
  India
Published: 2009
Abstract: Summary This paper examines the trends in utilization of five indicators of reproductive and child health services, namely, childhood immunization, medical assistance at delivery, antenatal care, contraceptive use and unmet need for contraception, by wealth index of the household in India and two disparate states, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The data from three rounds of the National Family and Health Survey conducted during 1992–2005 are analysed. The wealth index is computed using principal component derived weights from a set of consumer durables, land size, housing quality and water and sanitation facilities of the household, and classified into quintiles for all three rounds. Bivariate analyses, rich–poor ratio and concentration index are used to understand the trends in utilization of, and inequality in, reproductive and child health services. The results indicate huge disparities in utilization of these services, largely to the disadvantage of the poor. Utilization of basic childhood immunization among the poorest and the poor stagnated in India, as well as in both states, during 1998–2005 compared with 1992–1998. The use of maternal care services such as medical assistance at delivery and antenatal care remained at a low level among the poor over this period. However, contraceptive use increased relatively faster among the poor, even with higher unmet need. Of all these services, the inequality in medical assistance at delivery is consistently large, while that of contraceptive use is small. The state-level differences in service coverage by wealth quintiles over time are large.