Public health expenditure and health outcomes in Kenya: an analysis of maternal mortality
Arisa, Linet N
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Illness during pregnancy stands as a main risk factor for maternal mortality in Kenya. This study empirically analyzed the impact of public health expenditure on health outcomes in Kenya, with emphasis on maternal mortality. Due to data availability, the study used cross-sectional data from seventy Kenyan districts for the fear 2006. It used pregnancy related illness as a proxy of maternal mortality as a measure of health outcomes, which is the dependent variable while public health expenditure, access to health facility and other household income are the independent variables. Using a utility maximization approach as developed by Grossman (1972), the results revealed that health expenditures do not affect health outcomes in Kenya. The factors that affect health outcomes include distance to nearest health facility (5km or more) and other household income. This implies that increasing public health expenditure does not lead to reduced maternal mortality rates. Since the other determinants (access to medical facility and other household income) significantly affect the health outcomes, the government needs to put measures in place to ensure that women can easily access health facilities and sensitize them to ensure that they deliver in health facilities and attend antenatal care. This study did not include some important variables that affect maternal mortality rates like the impact of cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), preference of certain types of health care providers (including traditional and herbal medicine) and earlier marriages. Therefore, we suggest that in future, studies in this field should give attention to these variables.