Many public health systems have struggled with the dual questions of why the uptake rate of maternal health (MH) services is low among some subpopulations; and how to raise it.
In this study, Prof. ZHANG Linxiu and her team from Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), CASassessed the uptake rate of a new set of MH services in poor rural areas of China.
Based on the survey responses of women's representatives and village cadres from almost 1,000 villages in June 2012 as part of a wide-scale public health survey in Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan provinces in the western part of China, they found that the uptake rate of MH services (including in-hospital delivery, antenatal care visits and post-partum care visits) in poor rural areas of Western China are far below average in China, and that the rates vary across provinces and ethnic groups.
The analyses demonstrated that distance, income, ethnicity and availability appear to be systematically correlated with low uptake rates of all MH services. Demand-side factors seem to be by far the most important sources of the differences between subpopulations.
There was potential for creating a Conditional Cash Transfer program to improve the usage of MH services. The results could contribute positively to the exploration of answers to the dual questions that many public health systems have struggled with why the uptake rate of MH services is low among some subpopulations; and how to raise it, said the Dr. LIU Chengfang.