Born Free and Healthy: Examining Access to Maternal Health Services through Ghana’s Free Maternal Health Care Policy

Fidelia A. A. Dake, University of Ghana
Frank Otchere, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Maternal health continues to be a global development challenge, particularly in low-and-middle income countries including Ghana. As part of efforts to reduce maternal mortality in Ghana, a free maternal healthcare (FMHCP) policy was introduced in 2008 as one of the social protection packages under the National Health Insurance Scheme. Using data from the Ghana Maternal Health Survey conducted in 2017, we examined socio-demographic characteristics of pregnant women who accessed maternal healthcare services in the survey period and find that access to the FMHCP is generally pro-poor with women in high poverty regions and rural areas less likely to pay for antenatal, delivery and postnatal services. However, women with high-risk pregnancies were not significantly more likely to be exempted from making payments for maternal healthcare services. Further research is needed to investigate the reasons for lack of access to the FMHCP for some groups of women in spite of being eligible.

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  Presented in Session 30. Innovations in Health Systems and Maternal, Newborn and Child Health