Trends and causes of socioeconomic inequalities in maternal healthcare in Ghana, 2003–2014

Ama Pokuaa Fenny (Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana)
Derek Asuman (Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana)
Aba Obrumah Crentsil (Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana)
Doreen Nyarko Anyamesem Odame (Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Publication date: 11 February 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the trends of socioeconomic-related inequalities in maternal healthcare utilization in Ghana between 2003 and 2014 and examine the causes of inequalities in maternal healthcare utilization in Ghana.

Design/methodology/approach

Data are drawn from three rounds of the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey collected in 2003, 2008 and 2014, respectively. The authors employ two alternative measures of socioeconomic inequalities in health – the Wagstaff and Erreygers indices – to examine the trends of socioeconomic inequalities in maternal healthcare utilization. The authors proceed to decompose the causes of inequalities in maternal healthcare by applying a recently developed generalized decomposition technique based on recentered influence function regressions.

Findings

The study finds substantial pro-rich inequalities in maternal healthcare utilization in Ghana. The degree of inequalities has been decreasing since 2003. The elimination of user fees for maternal healthcare has contributed to achieving equity and inclusion in utilization. The decomposition analysis reveals significant contributions of individual, household and locational characteristics to inequalities in maternal healthcare. The authors find that educational attainment, urban residence and challenges with physical access to healthcare facilities increase the socioeconomic gap in maternal healthcare utilization.

Originality/value

There is a need to target vulnerable women who are unlikely to utilize maternal healthcare services. In addition to the elimination of user fees, there is a need to reduce inequalities in the distribution and quality of maternal health services to achieve universal coverage in Ghana.

Keywords

Citation

Fenny, A., Asuman, D., Crentsil, A. and Odame, D. (2019), "Trends and causes of socioeconomic inequalities in maternal healthcare in Ghana, 2003–2014", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 288-308. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-03-2018-0148

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.