World Health & Population

World Health & Population 9(1) January 2007 : 24-45.doi:10.12927/whp.2007.18712

Household Decisions to Utilize Maternal Healthcare in Rural and Urban India

Sisira Sarma and Henry Rempel


With the onset of pregnancy, a household must add the health of the expectant mother and the unborn child to its overall objective. Data from the Government of India's National Sample Survey Organization is utilized to analyze the determinants of women's decisions to register for pre- and postnatal healthcare, utilize maternal healthcare and select a place for childbirth. The data show that the level of schooling mothers have attained has a significant, positive effect on decisions to register and utilize these healthcare services in both rural and urban areas. In contrast, distance to a maternal health facility centre inhibits decisions to register for and utilize these services in rural India. In addition, awareness of healthy behaviour and factors that affect such knowledge at the household and community level are key determinants of whether maternal-child healthcare services are used. The findings demonstrate that the health status of women and children in India can be improved significantly by strengthening IEC (Information, Education and Communication) efforts on the demand side and reducing access barriers on the supply side.



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