Health Economics, Policy and Law


On the socio-economic determinants of antenatal care utilization in Azerbaijan: evidence and policy implications for reforms

Nazim N. Habibova1 c1

a1 Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada


Azerbaijan is a country with one of the highest child mortality rates in the regions of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Drawing on the nationally representative Demographic and Health Survey, this study examines the utilization of antenatal care in Azerbaijan to identify the socio-economic determinants of the usage, and its frequency, timing and quality. Consequently, binomial logit, two ordered logit and negative binomial regression models are specified to estimate the effect of various socio-economic characteristics on the likelihood of utilization. Place of living is an important determinant of antenatal healthcare utilization in Azerbaijan. It is important in determining the likelihood of utilization, its timing and quality of care received, whereas it is not significant in the model predicting the frequency of antenatal utilization. Women’s education is also significant in three models out of four. Education is important in explaining the frequency and timing of utilization as well as the quality of services received, but it is not significant in predicting the likelihood of utilization. Wealth gradient is another important determinant of antenatal care utilization in Azerbaijan inasmuch as it is significant in explaining the likelihood of prenatal care utilization and its frequency. In addition, two variables, birth order and desirability of the last child or current pregnancy, are significant only in explaining the likelihood of utilization. Therefore, we confirm the findings of previous studies, which reported that the utilization of prenatal health care is a multistage process in which decisions are sequential. Although the same set of factors may affect decision-making at all stages, the effect of these factors is different at different stages. Implications for reforms in the healthcare sector to improve antenatal care utilization in Azerbaijan are provided and discussed.

(Online publication July 02 2010)


c1 Correspondence to: Professor Nazim Habibov, School of Social Work, University of Windsor, 401 Sunset Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, N9B 3P4, Canada. Email: