Relationship between professional antenatal care and facility delivery: an assessment of Colombia


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Abstract

The determinants of maternal and child health have been the recurrent topics of study in developing countries. Using the Demographic and Health Survey (2010) of Colombia, this study aimed to identify the determinants for professional antenatal care and institutional delivery, taking into account the interdependence of these two decisions, which we consider using a bivariate probit model. This study found that when certain factors affecting both the decision to seek prenatal care and giving birth in a hospital are neglected, the results of the estimates are inefficient. Estimates show that the effects of education, parity, regional location and economic status on institutional delivery tend to be underestimated in a univariate probit model. The results indicate that economic status, level of education, parity and medical-insurance affiliation influenced the joint likelihood of accessing professional antenatal care and delivering in a health facility. An important finding is that mothers with a higher level of education are 9 percentage points more likely to access these two health services compared with mothers who are illiterate. Another observed finding is the regional disparities. The evidence indicates that mothers in the Pacific Region, the poorest region of Colombia, are 6 percentage points less likely to access such services. Thus, the results indicate that the Colombian health policy should emphasize increasing the level of schooling of mothers and establish health facilities in the poorest regions of the country to ensure that women in need are provided with social health insurance.

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