This paper explores the effects of poverty on access to maternal health care services (MHC), linking the use of MHC to two outcomes for the infant; mortality and nutritional status. Previous literature has documented an urban-rural dichotomy in infant survival and utilisation of MHC in India but little is known about the variations within urban areas. Rates of infant mortality are much higher in poorer sectors of the urban areas, suggesting that some differential utilisation of MHC exists between socio-economic groups.
In this paper the National Family Health Survey (1992/93) for Maharashtra is used to model use of antenatal and delivery care and associated influences on infant mortality and morbidity. A composite index is created to examine the influence of standard of living on use of MHC. Findings show that those living in poorer households in rural and urban areas have a lower utilisation of MHC services than those in the higher socio-economic strata. The low level of use of these services is associated with increased neonatal mortality. In addition, infants living in lower socio-economic groups in rural and urban areas have an increased risk of poor nutritional status and neonatal mortality.
Kausar, F.; Griffiths, P.; Matthews, Z. Poverty and Maternal Health Care Utilisation in Maharashtra: Associated Influences on Infant Mortality and Morbidity. (1999) Opportunities and Choices Working Paper No. 20, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK, 50 pp.