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Prim Health Care Res Dev. 2013 Oct;14(4):373-93. doi: 10.1017/S1463423612000552. Epub 2013 Jan 11.

Maternal health care in India: access and demand determinants.

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  • 1Department of Development Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai, India.



In this paper, we assess the degree to which the observed consistency in maternal health-care utilization can be accounted for by social and economic demand determinants at individual and household level on the one hand and community access to health services in terms of health, road and education facilities on the other.


Data from the three rounds of national family health survey of India (NFHS-1, -2 and -3) conducted in 1992–93, 1998–99 and 2005–06 are used in this analysis. The results of the analysis are presented in two sections. First, statewise profiles of maternal health-care utilization from NFHS-1, -2 and -3 are presented to compare the trends. Second, the influence of demand and access factors estimated from multi-level logistic regression models are presented for selected states of India.


Results reveal that inequalities in maternal health-care utilization by socio-economic status have narrowed because of the impact of complementing factors of greater community access, and social and economical advancement in the south Indian states, where overall maternal health-care coverage is at the top end of the scale. In contrast, in the demographically lagging northern states of India, which are at the bottom end of the health coverage scale, both access and socio-economic demand determinants indicate greater inequalities in maternal health-care utilization.


Lack of access to health care, slow progress in socio-economic conditions and cultural constraints are major determinants of poor maternal health-care coverage among Indian states.

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