Misconceived Equity or Policy Ineffectiveness? Health Care Resources, Community Poverty, and Child Health Disparities in Peru
Heeju Shin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Lissette Aliaga, University of Nebraska, Omaha
Marcus Britton, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Although a large volume of research has examined socioeconomic and other determinants of child health per se, fewer studies have examined what factors explain disparities in child health by geographic region. In this paper, we examine the relationship between regional disparities in child malnutrition and regional variation in two types of health resources in Peru: medical resources and overall living conditions, measured at regional level. Our analyses show that 1) only selective items of healthcare resources (outpatient visits and vaccination) are related to child nutritional status, 2) community poverty was the most important factor in child health status, and, most importantly, 3) a significant portion of the regional differences of child health was explained by community poverty, while healthcare resources had little associations with regional health disparities. These findings suggest that local socioeconomic environment is the key determinant of not only health outcomes, but also regional health disparities.