Pattern and correlates of out-of-pocket payment (OOP) on female sterilization in India, 1990–2014

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: Large scale public investment in family welfare programme has made female sterilization a free service in public health centers in India. Besides, it also provides financial compensation to acceptors. Despite these interventions, the use of contraception from private health centers has increased over time, across states and socio-economic groups in India. Though many studies have examined trends, patterns, and determinants of female sterilization services, studies on out-of-pocket payment (OOP) and compensations on sterilisation are limited in India. This paper examines the trends and variations in out-of-pocket payment (OOP) and compensations associated with female sterilization in India. Methods: Data from the National Family Health Survey - 4, 2015–16 was used for the analyses. A composite variable based on compensation received and amount paid by users was computed and categorized into four distinct groups. Multivariate analyses were used to understand the significant predictors of OOP of female sterilization. Results: Public health centers continued to be the major providers of female sterilization services; nearly 77.8% had availed themselves of free sterilization and 61.6% had received compensation for female sterilization. About two-fifths of the women in the economically well-off state like Kerala and one-third of the women in a poor state like Bihar had paid but did not receive any compensation for female sterilization. The OOP on female sterilization varies from 70 to 79% across India. The OOP on female sterilization was significantly higher among the educated and women belonging to the higher wealth quintile linking OOP to ability to pay for better quality of care. Conclusion: Public sector investment in family planning is required to provide free or subsidized provision of family welfare services, especially to women from a poor household. Improving the quality of female sterilization services in public health centers and rationalizing the compensation may extend the reach of family planning services in India.