TitleSavings ownership and the use of maternal health services in Indonesia.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsWeon, S, Rothwell, D, Nandy, S, Nandi, A
JournalHealth Policy Plan
Date Published10/2019

In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), many women of reproductive age experience morbidity and mortality attributable to inadequate access to and use of health services. Access to personal savings has been identified as a potential instrument for empowering women and improving access to and use of health services. Few studies, however, have examined the relation between savings ownership and use of maternal health services. In this study, we used data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey to examine the relation between women's savings ownership and use of maternal health services. To estimate the effect of obtaining savings ownership on our primary outcomes, specifically receipt of antenatal care, delivery in a health facility and delivery assisted by a skilled attendant, we used a propensity score weighted difference-in-differences approach. Our findings showed that acquiring savings ownership increased the proportion of women who reported delivering in a health facility by 22 percentage points [risk difference (RD) = 0.22, 95%CI = 0.08-0.37)] and skilled birth attendance by 14 percentage points (RD = 0.14, 95%CI = 0.03-0.25). Conclusions were qualitatively similar across a range of model specifications used to assess the robustness of our main findings. Results, however, did not suggest that savings ownership increased the receipt of antenatal care, which was nearly universal in the sample. Our findings suggest that under certain conditions, savings ownership may facilitate the use of maternal health services, although further quasi-experimental and experimental research is needed to address threats to internal validity and strengthen causal inference, and to examine the impact of savings ownership across different contexts.

Alternate JournalHealth Policy Plan
PubMed ID31584642