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Are cesarean deliveries equitable in India: assessment using benefit incidence analysis
Authors: Rajeev Ranjan Singh, Suyash Mishra, Sanjay K. Mohanty
Source: BMC Health Services Research, Volume 22, issue 1; DOI:
Topic(s): Cesarean section
Institutional births
Country: Asia
Published: MAY 2022
Abstract: Background: In the last two decades, cesarean section (CS) deliveries in India have increased by six-fold and created economic hardship for families and households. Although several schemes and policies under the National Health Mission (NHM) have reduced the inequality in the use of maternal care services in India, the distributive effect of public health subsidies on CS deliveries remains unclear. In this context, this paper examines the usage patterns of CS delivery and estimates the share of public health subsidies on CS deliveries among mothers by different background characteristics in India. Data: Data from the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) was used for the study. Out-of-pocket (OOP) payment for CS delivery was used as a dependent variable and was analyzed by level of care that is, primary (PHC, UHC, other) and secondary (government/municipal, rural hospital). Descriptive statistics, binary logistic regression, benefit incidence analysis, concentration curve and concentration index were used for the analysis. Results: A strong economic gradient was observed in the utilization of CS delivery from public health facilities. Among mothers using any public health facility, 23% from the richest quintile did not pay for CS delivery compared to 13% from the poorest quintile. The use of the public subsidy among mothers using any type of public health facility for CS delivery was pro-rich in nature; 9% in the poorest quintile, 16.1% in the poorer, 24.5% in the middle, 27.5% among richer and 23% in the richest quintile. The pattern of utilization and distribution of public subsidy was similar across the primary and secondary health facilities but the magnitude varied. The findings from the benefit-incidence analysis are supported by those obtained from the inequality analysis. The concentration index of CS was 0.124 for public health centers and 0.291 for private health centers. The extent of inequality in the use of CS delivery in public health centers was highest in the state of Mizoram (0.436), followed by Assam (0.336), and the lowest in Tamil Nadu (0.060), followed by Kerala (0.066). Conclusion: The utilization of CS services from public health centers in India is pro-rich. Periodically monitoring and evaluating of the cash incentive schemes for CS delivery and generating awareness among the poor would increase the use of CS delivery services in public health centers and reduce the inequality in CS delivery in India.