Maternal Health Care Expenditure among Women in Rural Areas of Pakistan
Background: With Pakistan failing to achieve Millennium Development Goals we have now entered into a new era of Sustainable Development Goals. Decreasing child mortality, improving maternal health and increasing the proportion of births by trained birth attendants, are the areas with unmet goals. As 29.5% of population of Pakistan is below the poverty line, expenditure on maternal health care services is of great importance as it determines the utilization of health care services to a large extent.
Objective: To assess maternal health care expenditure and its sociodemographic predictors in rural Khanewal, Punjab, Pakistan.
Methodology: In this cross sectional study average cost on delivery (both SVD and Cesarean section) was assessed in both public and private sector of rural
Khanewal. Total 257 women who had delivered in the last one year were included.
Results: Results revealed that 69.3% of mothers were illiterate.56.8% sought antenatal care in public health unit and 43.2% in a private health care facility. 49.8% delivered in a public health unit and 50.2% in private health care facility. Total expense on antenatal care and delivery was found to be <4,000PKR (<$38.16) in 55.6% (reportedly in a public health care unit) and was >16,000PKR (>$152.65) in 23.3% (reportedly in a private health care facility). A significant difference was found between expense, in public vs private sector and SVD vs. C-section.
Conclusion: This study revealed that there is high financial cost on maternal health services in both public and private sector of rural Khanewal. Although in private sector the cost is more as compared to public sector but still it is high keeping the notion of free health care services in Pakistan by the government. There-fore it is suggested to improve the quality of health care in public sector and if possible to provide free of cost services to mothers during delivery.
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