Health plays an important role in economic well-being. The relationship between poor health and poverty is multifaceted. Globally, reproductive health conditions are the second highest cause of ill health. This study uses district-level data from India to investigate how an index of maternal health care is impacted by the rate of poverty, and a development index based on the performance in electrification, sanitation and safe drinking water. The initial results from a linear regression model show that maternal health care improves by 0.617 percentage point for every 1 percentage point increase in development intervention but by only 0.078 percentage point for every 1 percentage point decline in poverty rate. After checking for possible simultaneity problem between maternal health care index (MHCI) and poverty rate, it is revealed that the low negative relationship between poverty and MHCI at the initial stage does not hold any more while the district development index continues to show the considerable and statistically significant impact. The findings underscore the need for direct government intervention in improving maternal health care in Indian districts.
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