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Type Journal Article - The European Journal of Public Health
Title Inequalities that hurt: demographic, socio-economic and health status inequalities in the utilization of health services in Serbia
Author(s)
Volume 20
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 389
URL http://eurpub.oxfordjournals.org/content/20/4/389.full
Abstract
Background: The aim of this study was to analyse demographic, socio-economic and health status inequalities by gender in the utilization of health services in Serbia. Methods: Data from 2006 National Health Survey for Serbia were used. A total of 14 522 persons from six geographical regions of Serbia aged =20 years were completely interviewed. Logistic regression analyses were used to study the effects of demographic (age, gender, marital status and type of settlement), socio-economic (education and Wealth Index) and health status (self-perceived health) variables on the utilization of health services [visits to general practitioner (GP), private doctor, dentist and hospitalization]. All analyses were carried out separately for males and females. Results: As compared with women (reference category), a lower percentage of men visited a GP [odds ratio (OR) = 0.61; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 0.57–0.65], private doctor (OR = 0.62; 95% CI = 0.57–0.67) and dentist (OR = 0.81; 95% CI = 0.76–0.87), but there were no gender differences in hospitalization. Both males and females who belong to disadvantaged classes were less likely to have visited a GP, a private doctor or a dentist in 12 months before the interview, regardless of their health status. No inequalities by social class were observed for the hospitalization among persons with poor self-perceived health status, i.e. those in most need. Conclusions: This study has shown that demographic, socio-economic and health status inequalities in the utilization of health services exist in Serbia. Wise health policy with equitable utilization of health services, regardless these inequalities should be a priority in shaping Serbian health care system reform

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