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Health outcomes in poor countries and policy options : empirical findings from demographic and health surveys

  • Wang, Limin
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    Empirical studies on health at a disaggregate level-by socioeconomic group or geographic location-can provide useful information for designing poverty-focused interventions. Using Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data, the author investigates the determinants of health outcomes in low-income countries both at the national level, and for rural and urban areas separately. DHS data from more than 60 low-income countries between 1990 and 1999 reveal two interesting observations. First is the negative association between the level and inequality in child mortality. Second is the significant gap in child mortality between urban and rural areas, with the rural population having a much slower reduction in mortality compared with the urban population. Given that the poor are mainly concentrated in rural areas, the evidence suggests that health interventions implemented in the past decade may not have been as effective as intended in reaching the poor. The empirical findings in this study consolidate results from earlier studies and add new evidence. the author finds that at the national level access to electricity, vaccination in the first year of life, and public health expenditure can significantly reduce child mortality. The electricity effect is shown to be independent of income. In urban areas only access to electricity has a significant health impact, while in rural areas increasing vaccination coverage is important for mortality reduction.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2831.

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    Date of creation: 30 Apr 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2831
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    1. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Mortality, Education, Income, and Inequality among American Cohorts," NBER Chapters, in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 129-170 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    3. Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1999. "The impact of public spending on health: does money matter?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(10), pages 1309-1323, November.
    4. Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Wealthier is healthier," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1150, The World Bank.
    5. Hentschel, Jesko, et al, 2000. "Combining Census and Survey Data to Trace the Spatial Dimensions of Poverty: A Case Study of Ecuador," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 147-65, January.
    6. Angus Deaton, 2001. "Relative deprivation, inequality, and mortality," Working Papers 275, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    7. Filmer, Deon & King, Elizabeth M. & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Gender disparity in South Asia : comparisons between and within countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1867, The World Bank.
    8. Sudhir Anand & Martin Ravallion, 1993. "Human Development in Poor Countries: On the Role of Private Incomes and Public Services," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 133-150, Winter.
    9. Jean Dreze & Mamta Murthi, 2000. "Fertility, Education and Development: Further Evidence from India," Working papers 76, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    10. Hentschel, Jesko & Lanjouw, Jean Olson & Lanjouw, Peter & Poggi, Javier, 1998. "Combining census and survey data to study spatial dimensions of poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1928, The World Bank.
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