Are the Poor Catching Up With the Rich in Utilizing Maternal Health Services? Evidence From India

Sohini Paul , National Council of Applied Economic Research

India launched the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2005 to improve maternal and child health (MNCH). With the backdrop of NRHM, we analyzed the extent to which the utilization of maternal health care services in continuum of care has improved among the poor vis-à-vis the rich in India, and the corresponding narrowing down in inequality during 2006-16. Data from the 3rd (2005-06) and 4th round (2015-16) of the National Family Health Surveys; capturing the pre and post-NRHM period respectively; are used for the analysis. Our findings show that maternal health care coverage increased significantly among the poor for all components of maternal health care services. Even so, the extent of utilization of services remains significantly lower among the poor in 2015-16 compared to the utilization by the rich in 2005-06. Although inequality estimated through absolute and relative measures persisted at a varying rate for different components of MNCH services.

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 Presented in Session 10. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior & Reproductive Health 2