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Trends and determinants of socioeconomic inequalities in sexual and reproductive health among women in Ghana

Frank Agyire-Tettey (Department of Economics, University of Ghana School of Social Sciences, Accra, Ghana)
Derek Asuman (Department of Economics, University of Ghana School of Social Sciences, Accra, Ghana)
Bernardin Senadza (Department of Economics, University of Ghana School of Social Sciences, Accra, Ghana)
Lucia Addae (Johnson & Johnson, Accra, Ghana)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Article publication date: 7 June 2019

Issue publication date: 24 June 2019

225

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to estimate the degree and nature of socioeconomic-related inequalities in sexual and reproductive health in Ghana and further assesses causes of these inequalities using decomposition technique. The authors assess the contribution of personal characteristics of the woman including access to health information and health seeking behaviours, household and locational characteristics to inequalities in sexual and reproductive health in Ghana. The study uses data from the three rounds of the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2003, 2008 and 2014.

Design/methodology/approach

Two indicators – use of modern contraceptives and intention to use modern contraceptives – are used to measure sexual and reproductive health of sexually active women. A wealth index, based on household ownership of assets, consumer goods and living conditions, is used as a measure of socioeconomic status. The paper estimates a concentration index to the relationship between cumulative health and socioeconomic rank. Paper procedures to apply decomposition techniques to determine the causes of socioeconomic inequalities in health based on a linear health regression model.

Findings

The study finds evidence of varying degrees of socioeconomic-related inequalities in sexual and reproductive health indicators. Specifically, the study finds that whilst use of modern contraceptives was concentrated among women in households with high socioeconomic status in 2003 and 2008, modern contraceptive use was prevalent among women in low socioeconomic status households in 2014. Equally, the study finds significant pro-poor inequalities in the intentions to use modern contraceptives in 2003 and 2014. The degree of socioeconomic inequalities in the intentions to use modern contraceptives increased between 2003 and 2014.

Originality/value

There is the lack of evidence on the degree, nature and causes of socioeconomic-related inequalities, which in tend impedes the design and implementation of sexual and reproductive health policies targeted at vulnerable and under-served populations. In addition, there is the need to study inequalities in health over time to monitor progress of health delivery systems towards equitable and universal coverage and understand the evolution of the determinants.

Keywords

Citation

Agyire-Tettey, F., Asuman, D., Senadza, B. and Addae, L. (2019), "Trends and determinants of socioeconomic inequalities in sexual and reproductive health among women in Ghana", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 209-228. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDI-12-2018-0198

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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