Dynamic Health Care Decisions and Child Health in South Africa
A large number of child deaths in developing countries could be averted if ill children received care sooner rather than later. This paper analyses the healthcare treatment pathway that is followed for children under the age of six. The majority of these children receive treatment within 24 hours. However, we find that income affects the probability of any treatment, despite freely available public healthcare, while delayed treatment for severely ill children is more likely to occur in more expensive private facilities. Our results suggest that free public healthcare is not enough to mitigate health inequality amongst young children, and that delayed healthcare could lead to adverse household expenditure shocks.
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