To investigate the temporal trend of socioeconomic and rural‐urban disparities and geographical variation in the utilization of antenatal care (ANC) services in India before and throughout the Millennium Development Goals era.
For this temporal analysis, secondary data from the Indian National Family Health Surveys between 1998 and 2015 (Waves 2, 3, and 4) were used.
We analyzed the trend in inequality for at least one and four ANC visits to a health care professional (ANC1+ and ANC4+, respectively) by education, wealth, and residence type. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to assess the temporal trend and the relative contribution of communities and states to the overall variation in ANC1+ and ANC4+.
Data Sources/Study Setting
Data on utilization of ANC services for the last birth of women aged 15‐49 years during the three or five years preceding the survey (depending on the survey year) were used.
Educational and wealth inequality in ANC1+ and ANC4+ worsened between 1998 and 2005 and improved between 2005 and 2015 (for ANC4+, OR [95% CI] = 0.22 [0.19‐0.25] in Wave 2; OR [95% CI] = 0.19 [0.17‐0.22] in Wave 3; and OR [95% CI] = 0.38 [0.36‐0.40] in Wave 4 for the poorest). Rural‐urban inequality showed a consistent decline (for ANC4+, OR [95% CI] = 0.59 [0.54‐0.64] in Wave 2; OR [95% CI] = 0.63 [0.59‐0.68] in Wave 3; and OR [95% CI] = 0.82 [0.79‐0.85] in Wave 4 for rural area). The relative contribution of the community to the total geographic variation in the utilization of ANC services increased more than four times during the study period.
The use of ANC services remains disproportionately lower among women with low socioeconomic status. Efforts to directly target these women are necessary to tackle inequality in ANC utilization in India.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods