Improving maternal health and achieving universal health coverage (UHC) are important expectations in the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. While health insurance has been shown as effective in the utilisation of maternal healthcare, there is a paucity of literature on this relationship in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We examined the relationship between health insurance coverage and maternal healthcare utilisation using demographic and health survey data.
This was a cross-sectional study of 195 651 women aged 15–49 y from 28 countries in SSA. We adopted bivariable and multivariable analyses comprising χ2 test and multilevel binary logistic regression in analysing the data.
The prevalence of maternal healthcare utilisation was 58, 70.6 and 40.7% for antenatal care (ANC), skilled birth attendance (SBA) and postnatal care (PNC), respectively. The prevalence of health insurance coverage was 6.4%. Women covered by health insurance were more likely to utilise ANC (adjusted OR [aOR]=1.48, 95% CI 1.41 to 1.54), SBA (aOR=1.37, 95% CI 1.30 to 1.45) and PNC (aOR=1.42, 95% CI 1.37 to 1.48).
Health insurance coverage was an important predictor of maternal healthcare utilisation in our study. To accelerate progress towards the achievement of SDG 3 targets related to the reduction of maternal mortality and achievement of UHC, countries should adopt interventions to increase maternal insurance coverage, which may lead to higher maternal healthcare access and utilisation during pregnancy.