On the spatial inequalities of institutional versus home births in Ghana: A multilevel analysis

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Journal Article
Journal of Community Health, 2009, 34 (1), pp. 64 - 72
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Spatial inequalities related to the choice of delivery care have not been studied systematically in Sub-Saharan Africa where maternal and perinatal health outcomes continue to worsen despite a range of safe motherhood interventions. Using retrospective data from the 1998 and 2003 Demographic and Health Surveys, this paper investigates the extent of changes in spatial inequalities associated with type of delivery care in Ghana with a focus on rural-urban differentials within and across the three ecological zones (Savannah, Forest and Coastal). More than one-half of births in Ghana continue to occur outside health institutions without any skilled obstetric care. While this is already known, we present evidence from multilevel analyses that there exist considerable and growing inequalities, with regard to birth settings between communities, within rural and urban areas and across the ecological zones. The results show evidence of poor and disproportionate use of institutional care at birth; the inequalities remained high and unchanged in both urban and rural communities within the Savannah zone and widening in urban communities of the Forest and Coastal zones. The key policy challenges in Ghana, therefore, include both increasing the uptake of institutional delivery care and ensuring equity in access to both public and private health institutions. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
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