The Effect of Household Socioeconomic Status on the Demand for Child Health Care Services
African Development Review, 2019, vol. 31, issue 1, 87-98
The health of the child is an important factor for proper childhood development. Unfortunately, efforts to improve child health in many countries have not yielded the desired results as many children do not receive appropriate health care, hence contributing to high child mortality and morbidity from avoidable causes. To address this problem, it is important that we understand the factors that drive the demand for child health care services. This study, employing the binary and multinomial logistic regression models, examines the effect of household socioeconomic status on the demand for child health care in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia using data from the 2014 Demographic and Health Surveys. The results indicate that the likelihood of seeking appropriate health care for the child is higher when both parents make decisions. The findings further indicate that the odds of seeking treatment for the child falls with the birth order and age of the child, but increases with household wealth, insurance status and proximity to the health facility. Working women are more likely to demand child health care than their counterparts who are unemployed. Our results, therefore, suggest that improving child health will need the participation of both parents in the household on such decisions. Besides, there is the need to educate parents on the importance of seeking appropriate care for all the children born irrespective of the birth order and age of the child. There should also be deliberate efforts to improve the economic lot of households to enhance their purchasing power and encourage them to participate in health insurance schemes to enable effective utilization of health care services for the child in the efforts to improve child health.
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