Out-of-Pocket Expenditure on Delivery Care in Public and Private Health Sectors – A Study in a Rural District of Pakistan
Pakistan witnessed a significant improvement in maternal health outcomes during the past two decades. However, persistent urban-rural and socio-economic inequalities exist in access to maternal healthcare services across the country. The objective of this study was to estimate out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) on delivery care by women in the public and private health sectors in RajanPur district. This was a cross-sectional study conducted, among 368 randomly selected mothers who had childbirths from 1st October to 31st December 2020. The study applied multi-stage random sampling technique to select the study participants. The results showed that about two-thirds of mothers preferred public hospitals for most recent delivery. The percentage of cesarean deliveries conducted in private hospitals (43.8%) was 4.7 times higher than in public hospitals (9.3%). About 99% of mothers incurred OOPE during delivery care, and the mean OOPE incurred during delivery care was PKR 2840 (US$ 17.75) in public hospitals and PKR 25596 (US$159.9) in private hospitals. OOPE on cesarean delivery in private hospitals (PKR 39654.7, US$247.8) was 2.5 times higher than the public hospitals (PKR16111.9, US$100.69), whereas OOPE incurred on normal delivery care in private hospitals (PKR14339, US$89.62) was 9.5 times higher than OOPE in public hospitals(PKR 1501.4, US$9.38).To conclude, the findings and recommendations drawn from the research would provide some insights to health policymakers and planners in developing an integrated and viable maternal healthcare program in Pakistan.
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