Equity in utilization of health care services: Perspective of pregnant women in southern Odisha, India
Meerambika Mahapatro,IJMR 2015
Background & objectives: Inequity in the use of health care services is an important factor affecting the maternal and child survival. In southern Odisha, India, the health indicators remained below compared to the s0 tate and national average. This study identifies various equity issues at individual and community levels that influence women’s choice affecting the utilization of maternal health services in a district in southern Odisha.
Methods: A qualitative study was carried out in Gajam district, rural region of south Odisha. Ten in-depth interviews were carried out till data saturation with women having less than one year child and 10 focus group discussions with the average eight women in each group having less than five year old child, community and health care providers separately. A total of 120 respondents were included in the study using in-depth interview and focus group discussions.
Results: The important determinants in utilization of health care services by women emerging from the study were transportation and financial constraints. In addition, it was found that divergent aetiological concepts and low perceived hospital benefits of the women and community were equally important determinants. Further, community had different perceptions and interpretations of danger signs influencing the risk approach and health care seeking behaviour.
Interpretation & conclusions: Our findings show that to increase the utilization of health care services, the grass root health workers should be made aware of specific social determinants of risk, perceptions and preferences. m0 ore attention should be given to the transportation system, and its operational feasibility. The husband of the women and the elders of the family should be considered as an important unit of interjection. A more individualized antenatal consultation could be provided by taking into account women’s perception of risk and their explanatory models.