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Initiation and continuity of maternal healthcare: examining the role of vouchers and user-fee removal on maternal health service use in Kenya

Dennis, ML; Benova, L; Abuya, T; Quartagno, M; Bellows, B; Campbell, OMR; (2019) Initiation and continuity of maternal healthcare: examining the role of vouchers and user-fee removal on maternal health service use in Kenya. Health Policy and Planning , Article czz004. 10.1093/heapol/czz004. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This study explores the relationship between two health financing initiatives on women's progression through the maternal health continuum in Kenya: a subsidized reproductive health voucher programme (2006-16) and the introduction of free maternity services in all government facilities (2013). Using cross-sectional survey data, we ran three multivariable logistic regression models examining the effects of the voucher programme, free maternity policy, health insurance and other determinants on (1) early antenatal care (ANC) initiation (first visit within the first trimester of pregnancy), (2) receiving continuous care (1+ ANC, facility birth, 1+ post-natal care (PNC) check) and (3) completing the maternal health pathway as recommended (4+ ANC, facility birth, 1+ PNC, with first check occurring within 48 h of delivery). Full implementation of the voucher programme was positively associated with receiving continuous care among users of 1+ ANC [interaction term adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 1.33, P = 0.014]. Early ANC initiation (aOR: 1.32, P = 0.001) and use of private sector ANC (aOR: 1.93, P < 0.001) were also positively associated with use of continuous care among ANC users. Among continuous care users, early ANC was associated with increased odds of completing the maternal health pathway as recommended (aOR: 3.80, P < 0.001). Higher parity was negatively associated with all three outcomes, while having health insurance was positively associated with each outcome. The impact of other sociodemographic factors such as maternal age, education, wealth quintile, urban residence, and employment varied by outcome; however, the findings generally suggest that marginalized women faced greater barriers to early ANC initiation and continuity of care. Health financing and women's timing and source of ANC are strongly related to their subsequent progression through the maternal health pathway. To increase continuity of care and improve maternal health outcomes, policymakers must therefore focus on equitably reducing financial and other barriers to care seeking and improving quality of care throughout the continuum.

Type: Article
Title: Initiation and continuity of maternal healthcare: examining the role of vouchers and user-fee removal on maternal health service use in Kenya
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/heapol/czz004
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czz004
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press in association with The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Kenya, User fees, continuum of care, maternal health, private sector, vouchers
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069817
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