A. Sathiya Susuman , University of the Western Cape
Access to, and use of, maternal and reproductive health services is crucial for human development, especially in developing regions. However, inequality remains a persistent problem for many developing countries. Study used Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Surveys data in 2008-2013. Five maternal and reproductive health indicators were selected for this study, including: four or more antenatal care visits, skilled antenatal care provider, births delivered in a facility, births assisted by a skilled birth attendant, and any method of contraception. The study measured differentials over the two periods, and decomposed it to measure the contribution of the selected circumstance variables to inequality. Inequalities declined over time, as shown by the decrease in the dissimilarity index. Due to the drop in the dissimilarity index, the Human Opportunity Index (HOI) increased for all the selected maternal and reproductive health indicators. Overall, study found that household wealth status, maternal education, and place of residence, are the most important factors contributing to the inequality in the use of maternal and reproductive health services. Even though there are improvements in inequalities over time, there are variations in the way in which inequality within the different indicators has improved. In order to improve the use of maternal and reproductive health services, and to reduce inequalities in these services, the government will have to invest in: (i) increasing the educational levels of women, (ii) improving the standard of living, as well (iii) bringing maternal and reproductive health services closer to rural populations.
Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality