Pathways of Economic Inequalities in Maternal and Child Health in Urban India: A Decomposition Analysis

Srinivas Goli, Riddhi Doshi, Arokiasamy Perianayagam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background/Objective: Children and women comprise vulnerable populations in terms of health and are gravely affected by the impact of economic inequalities through multi-dimensional channels. Urban areas are believed to have better socioeconomic and maternal and child health indicators than rural areas. This perception leads to the implementation of health policies ignorant of intra-urban health inequalities. Therefore, the objective of this study is to explain the pathways of economic inequalities in maternal and child health indicators among the urban population of India. Methods: Using data from the third wave of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS, 2005-06), this study calculated relative contribution of socioeconomic factors to inequalities in key maternal and child health indicators such as antenatal check-ups (ANCs), institutional deliveries, proportion of children with complete immunization, proportion of underweight children, and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). Along with regular CI estimates, this study applied widely used regression-based Inequality Decomposition model proposed by Wagstaff and colleagues. Results: The CI estimates show considerable economic inequalities in women with less than 3 ANCs (CI = -0.3501), institutional delivery (CI = -0.3214), children without fully immunization (CI = -0.18340), underweight children (CI = -0.19420), and infant deaths (CI = -0.15596). Results of the decomposition model reveal that illiteracy among women and her partner, poor economic status, and mass media exposure are the critical factors contributing to economic inequalities in maternal and child health indicators. The residuals in all the decomposition models are very less; this implies that the above mentioned factors explained maximum inequalities in maternal and child health of urban population in India. Conclusion: Findings suggest that illiteracy among women and her partner, poor economic status, and mass media exposure are the critical pathways through which economic factors operate on inequalities in maternal and child health outcomes in urban India.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere58573
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

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