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Equity of inpatient health care in rural Tanzania: a population- and facility-based survey

Mbaruku, Godfrey; Freedman, Lynn P.; Kruk, Margaret E.; Ferry, Grace A.; Dickson, Sean R.

To explore the equity of utilization of inpatient health care at rural Tanzanian health centers through the use of a short wealth questionnaire. Patients admitted to four rural health centers in the Kigoma Region of Tanzania from May 2008 to May 2009 were surveyed about their illness, asset ownership and demographics. Principal component analysis was used to compare the wealth of the inpatients to the wealth of the region's general population, using data from a previous population-based survey. Among inpatients, 15.3% were characterized as the most poor, 19.6% were characterized as very poor, 16.5% were characterized as poor, 18.9% were characterized as less poor, and 29.7% were characterized as the least poor. The wealth distribution of all inpatients (p < 0.0001), obstetric inpatients (p < 0.0001), other inpatients (p < 0.0001), and fee-exempt inpatients (p < 0.001) were significantly different than the wealth distribution in the community population, with poorer patients underrepresented among inpatients. The wealth distribution of pediatric inpatients (p = 0.2242) did not significantly differ from the population at large. The findings indicated that while current Tanzanian health financing policies may have improved access to health care for children under five, additional policies are needed to further close the equity gap, especially for obstetric inpatients.

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Also Published In

International Journal for Equity in Health

More About This Work

Academic Units
Population and Family Health
BioMed Central
Published Here
September 8, 2014