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Geographic distribution of need and access to health care in rural population: an ecological study in Iran

Author(s): Ahmad Kiadaliri Aliasghar | Najafi Behzad | Haghparast-Bidgoli Hassan

Journal: International Journal for Equity in Health
ISSN 1475-9276

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 39;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Equality | Gini Index | Index of Dissimilarity | Rural Health Houses | Iran

Abstract Introduction Equity in access to and utilization of health services is a common goal of policy-makers in most countries. The current study aimed to evaluate the distribution of need and access to health care services among Iran's rural population between 2006 and 2009. Methods Census data on population's characteristics in each province were obtained from the Statistical Centre of Iran and National Organization for civil registration. Data about the Rural Health Houses (RHHs) were obtained from the Ministry of Health. The Health Houses-to-rural population ratio (RHP), crude birth rate (CBR) and crude mortality rate (CMR) in rural population were calculated in order to compare their distribution among the provinces. Lorenz curves of RHHs, CMR and CBR were plotted and their decile ratio, Gini Index and Index of Dissimilarity were calculated. Moreover, Spearman rank-order correlation was used to examine the relation between RHHs and CMR and CBR. Results There were substantial differences in RHHs, CMR and CBR across the provinces. CMR and CBR experienced changes toward more equal distributions between 2006 and 2009, while inverse trend was seen for RHHs. Excluding three provinces with markedly changes in data between 2006 and 2009 as outliers, did not change observed trends. Moreover; there was a significant positive relationship between CMR and RHP in 2009 and a significant negative association between CBR and RHP in 2006 and 2009. When three provinces with outliers were excluded, these significant associations were disappeared. Conclusion Results showed that there were significant variations in the distribution of RHHs, CMR and CBR across the country. Moreover, the distribution of RHHs did not reflect the needs for health care in terms of CMR and CBR in the study period.
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