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Are institutional deliveries equitable in the southern states of India? A benefit incidence analysis

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-21, 07:44 authored by Santosh Kumar SharmaSantosh Kumar Sharma, Devaki NambiarDevaki Nambiar

Background Despite a commendable rise in the number of women seeking delivery care at public health institutions in South India, it is unclear if the benefit accrues to wealthier or poorer socio-economic groups. The study’s aim was to investigate at how the public subsidy is distributed among Indian women who give birth in public hospitals in the southern regions. Methods Data from the Indian Demographic Health Survey’s fifth wave (NFHS-5, 2019–21) was used in this study. A total of 22, 403 were institutional deliveries across all the southern states of India were included. Out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) on childbirth in health institutions was the outcome variable. We used summary statistics, Benefits Incidence Analysis (BIA), concentration index (CI), and concentration curve (CC) were used. Results Most women in the lowest, poorest, and medium quintiles of wealth opted to give birth in public facilities. In contrast, about 69% of mothers belonging to highest quintile gave birth in private health institutions. The magnitude of CI and CC of institutional delivery indicates that public sector usage was concentrated among poorer quintiles [CIX: − 0.178; SE: 0.005; p<0.001] and private sector usage was concentrated among wealthier quintiles [CIX: 0.239; SE: 0.006; p<0.001]. Benefit incidence analyses suggest that middle quintile of women received the maximum public subsidy in primary health centres (33.23%), followed by richer quintile (25.62%), and poorer wealth quintiles (24.84%). These pattern in the secondary health centres was similar. Conclusion Poorer groups utilize the public sector for institutional delivery in greater proportions than the private sector. Middle quintiles seem to benefit the most from public subsidy in terms of the median cost of service and non-payment. Greater efforts must be made to understand how and why these groups are being left behind and what policy measures can enhance their inclusion and financial risk protection.



International Journal for Equity in Health 23, 17



Other Funding information

The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Fellowship (grant no. IA/CPHI/16/1/502653)

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  • School of Medicine

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