Background: In Bangladesh, India and Nepal, neonatal outcomes of poor infants are considerably worse than those of better-off infants. Understanding how these inequalities vary by country and place of delivery (home or facility) will allow targeting of interventions to those who need them most. We describe socio-economic inequalities in newborn care in rural areas of Bangladesh, Nepal and India for all deliveries and by place of delivery. Methods: We used data from surveillance sites in Bangladesh, India and from Makwanpur and Dhanusha districts in Nepal, covering periods from 2001 to 2011. We used literacy (ability to read a short text) as indicator of socioeconomic status. We developed a composite score of nine newborn care practices (score range 0-9 indicating infants received no newborn care to all nine newborn care practices). We modeled the effect of literacy and place of delivery on the newborn care score and on individual practices. Results: In all study sites (60,078 deliveries in total), use of facility delivery was higher among literate mothers. In all sites, inequalities in newborn care were observed: the difference in new born care between literate and illiterate ranged 0.35-0.80. The effect of literacy on the newborn care score reduced after adjusting for place of delivery (range score difference literate-illiterate: 0.21-0.43). Conclusion: Socioeconomic inequalities in facility care greatly contribute to inequalities in newborn care. Improving newborn care during home deliveries and improving access to facility care are a priority for addressing inequalities in newborn care and newborn mortality.

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Journal International Journal for Equity in Health
De Jonge, E. (Erik), Azad, K, Hossen, M. (Munir), Kuddus, A, Manandhar, A, Van de Poel, E, … Houweling, A.J. (2018). Socioeconomic inequalities in newborn care during facility and home deliveries: A cross sectional analysis of data from demographic surveillance sites in rural Bangladesh, India and Nepal. International Journal for Equity in Health, 17(1). doi:10.1186/s12939-018-0834-9