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Do individual and program factors matter in the utilization of maternal care services in rural India? A theoretical approach

  • Education
  • Medicine


Current studies on the utilization of maternal care services in India focus on individual factors. In the present study, we use the theoretical model developed by Andersen and Newman [1973. Societal and individual determinants of medical care utilization in the United States. Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 51(1), 95-124] to understand the utilization of maternal care services in rural areas of India. This theoretical model uses individual and welfare program--or system factors--to study health care utilization. Data collected through the National Family Health Survey-2 are used in the present study. The results suggest that in addition to individual characteristics, program and system factors influence the utilization of maternal care in rural areas. Program factors, particularly educational activities promoting the benefits of maternal care services carried out through mahila mandal and anganwadi centers, are important in increasing the use of maternal care services in rural areas. Additionally, the results indicate that the mere presence of a private health care facility need not necessarily improve utilization. Increase in utilization is observed among households if the health worker visited these households during pregnancy. More state-specific studies incorporating both program and individual characteristics are recommended to further strengthen our understanding of the utilization of health care services in general and maternal care services specifically.

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