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Equity assessment of maternal and child healthcare benefits utilization and distribution in public healthcare facilities in Bangladesh: a benefit incidence analysis

journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-13, 03:42 authored by N Sheikh, Marufa SultanaMarufa Sultana, AR Sarker, A Morton
Background: The distribution of healthcare services should be based on the needs of the population, regardless of their ability to pay. Achieving universal health coverage implies first ensuring that people of all income levels have access to quality healthcare, and then allocating resources reasonably considering individual need. Hence, this study aims to understand how public benefits in Bangladesh are currently distributed among wealth quintiles considering different layers of healthcare facilities and to assess the distributional impact of public benefits. Methods: To conduct this study, data were extracted from the recent Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2017–18. We performed benefit incidence analysis to determine the distribution of maternal and child healthcare utilization in relation to wealth quintiles. Disaggregated and national-level public benefit incidence analysis was conducted by the types of healthcare services, levels of healthcare facilities, and overall utilization. Concentration curves and concentration indices were estimated to measure the equity in benefits distribution. Results: An unequal utilization of public benefits observed among the wealth quintiles for maternal and child healthcare services across the different levels of healthcare facilities in Bangladesh. Overall, upper two quintiles (richest 19.8% and richer 21.7%) utilized more benefits from public facilities compared to the lower two quintiles (poorest 18.9% and poorer 20.1%). Benefits utilization from secondary level of health facilities was highly pro-rich, while benefit utilization found pro-poor at primary levels. The public benefits in Bangladesh were also not distributed according to the needs of the population; nevertheless, poorest 20% household cannot access 20% share of public benefits in most of the maternal and child healthcare services even if we ignore their needs. Conclusions: Benefit incidence analysis in public health spending demonstrates the efficacy with which the government allocates constrained health resources to satisfy the needs of the poor. Public health spending in Bangladesh on maternal and child healthcare services were not equally distributed among wealth quintiles. Overall health benefits were more utilized by the rich relative to the poor. Hence, policymakers should prioritize redistribution of resources by targeting the socioeconomically vulnerable segments of the population to increase their access to health services to meet their health needs.



Population Health Metrics



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Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal