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Institutional delivery in rural India: the relative importance of accessibility and economic status

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      Abstract

      BackgroundSkilled attendance at delivery is an important indicator in monitoring progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5 to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 1990 and 2015. In addition to professional attention, it is important that mothers deliver their babies in an appropriate setting, where life saving equipment and hygienic conditions can also help reduce the risk of complications that may cause death or illness to mother and child. Over the past decade interest has grown in examining influences on care-seeking behavior and this study investigates the determinants of place of delivery in rural India, with a particular focus on assessing the relative importance of community access and economic status.MethodsA descriptive analysis of trends in place of delivery using data from two national representative sample surveys in 1992 and 1998 is followed by a two-level (child/mother and community) random-effects logistical regression model using the second survey to investigate the determinants.ResultsIn this investigation of institutional care seeking for child birth in rural India, economic status emerges as a more crucial determinant than access. Economic status is also the strongest influence on the choice between a private-for-profit or public facility amongst institutional births.ConclusionGreater availability of obstetric services will not alone solve the problem of low institutional delivery rates. This is particularly true for the use of private-for-profit institutions, in which the distance to services does not have a significant adjusted effect. In the light of these findings a focus on increasing demand for existing services seems the most rational action. In particular, financial constraints need to be addressed, and results support current trials of demand side financing in India.

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      Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data--or tears: an application to educational enrollments in states of India.

      Using data from India, we estimate the relationship between household wealth and children's school enrollment. We proxy wealth by constructing a linear index from asset ownership indicators, using principal-components analysis to derive weights. In Indian data this index is robust to the assets included, and produces internally coherent results. State-level results correspond well to independent data on per capita output and poverty. To validate the method and to show that the asset index predicts enrollments as accurately as expenditures, or more so, we use data sets from Indonesia, Pakistan, and Nepal that contain information on both expenditures and assets. The results show large, variable wealth gaps in children's enrollment across Indian states. On average a "rich" child is 31 percentage points more likely to be enrolled than a "poor" child, but this gap varies from only 4.6 percentage points in Kerala to 38.2 in Uttar Pradesh and 42.6 in Bihar.
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        Strategies for reducing maternal mortality: getting on with what works.

        The concept of knowing what works in terms of reducing maternal mortality is complicated by a huge diversity of country contexts and of determinants of maternal health. Here we aim to show that, despite this complexity, only a few strategic choices need to be made to reduce maternal mortality. We begin by presenting the logic that informs our strategic choices. This logic suggests that implementation of an effective intrapartum-care strategy is an overwhelming priority. We also discuss the alternative configurations of such a strategy and, using the best available evidence, prioritise one strategy based on delivery in primary-level institutions (health centres), backed up by access to referral-level facilities. We then go on to discuss strategies that complement intrapartum care. We conclude by discussing the inexplicable hesitation in decision-making after nearly 20 years of safe motherhood programming: if the fifth Millennium Development Goal is to be achieved, then what needs to be prioritised is obvious. Further delays in getting on with what works begs questions about the commitment of decision-makers to this goal.
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          Maternal mortality: who, when, where, and why.

          The risk of a woman dying as a result of pregnancy or childbirth during her lifetime is about one in six in the poorest parts of the world compared with about one in 30 000 in Northern Europe. Such a discrepancy poses a huge challenge to meeting the fifth Millennium Development Goal to reduce maternal mortality by 75% between 1990 and 2015. Some developed and transitional countries have managed to reduce their maternal mortality during the past 25 years. Few of these, however, began with the very high rates that are now estimated for the poorest countries-in which further progress is jeopardised by weak health systems, continuing high fertility, and poor availability of data. Maternal deaths are clustered around labour, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period, with obstetric haemorrhage being the main medical cause of death. Local variation can be important, with unsafe abortion carrying huge risk in some populations, and HIV/AIDS becoming a leading cause of death where HIV-related mortaliy rates are high. Inequalities in the risk of maternal death exist everywhere. Targeting of interventions to the most vulnerable--rural populations and poor people--is essential if substantial progress is to be achieved by 2015.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP, UK
            Contributors
            Journal
            BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
            BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
            BioMed Central
            1471-2393
            2010
            6 June 2010
            : 10
            : 30
            2898676
            1471-2393-10-30
            20525393
            10.1186/1471-2393-10-30
            Copyright ©2010 Kesterton et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Categories
            Research article

            Obstetrics & Gynecology

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