The determinants of access to health care services : empirical evidence from African countries.
It has been acknowledged that access to health care is instrumental in improving health status; and better health status has been considered crucial to socio-economic development. However, there is insufficient evidence on the factors that determine access to health care to inform policy makers. To this end, this study aimed to identify the key determinants of access to health care in Africa, distinguishing between the short and long-run determinants of such access. Panel data from 37 African countries were collected from the World Bank and World Health Organisation for the period 1995-2012 and analysed using a dynamic panel autoregressive distributed lags (ARDL) model. With the preliminary test suggesting common long-run coefficients and individual shortrun coefficients, the model was estimated using the pooled mean group (PMG) estimators. The study found that a long-run and short-run stable relationship exists between access to health care and the variables included in the model, with income being the strongest determinant. The income elasticity of access to health care was 0.1149, suggesting that access to health care is a non-luxury good. These findings imply that income is an important determinant of access to health care and should therefore be the focus of policy making to improve such access in African countries.
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