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Does socio-economic status explain use of modern and traditional health care services?


  • Sato, Azusa


Although socioeconomic status is acknowledged to be an important determinant of modern health care utilisation, most analyses to date have failed to include traditional systems as alternative, or joint, providers of care. In developing countries, where pluralistic care systems are common, individuals are likely to be using multiple sources of health care, and the order in which systems are chosen is likely to vary according to income. This paper uses self-collected data from households in Ghana and econometric techniques (biprobit modelling and ordered logit) to show that rising income is associated with modern care use whilst decreasing income is associated with traditional care use. When utilisation is analysed in order, results show rising income to have a positive effect on choice of modern care as a first provider, whilst choosing it second, third or never is associated with decreasing income. The effects of income on utilisation patterns of traditional care are stronger: as income rises, utilisation of traditional care as a first choice decreases. Policy should incorporate traditional care into the general utilisation framework and recognise that strategies which increase income may encourage wider utilisation of modern over traditional care, whilst high levels of poverty will see continued use of traditional care.

Suggested Citation

  • Sato, Azusa, 2012. "Does socio-economic status explain use of modern and traditional health care services?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(8), pages 1450-1459.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:8:p:1450-1459
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.05.032

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mukolo, Abraham & Cooil, Bruce & Victor, Bart, 2015. "The effects of utility evaluations, biomedical knowledge and modernization on intention to exclusively use biomedical health facilities among rural households in Mozambique," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 225-233.
    2. Azusa Sato & Joan Costa-Font, 2014. "The Hedonic Procedural Effect of Traditional Medicines," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 1061-1084, October.
    3. repec:spd:journl:v:67:y:2017:i:4:p:3-22 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Pierce, Hayley & Heaton, Tim B. & Hoffmann, John, 2014. "Increasing maternal healthcare use in Rwanda: Implications for child nutrition and survival," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 61-67.


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