Health Care Utilization by Older Adults in Nepal: An Investigation of Correlates and Equity in Utilization

Saruna Ghimire, Devendra Raj Singh, Sara J McLaughlin, Renusha Maharjan, Dhirendra Nath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to evaluate factors associated with health care utilization (HCU) and to assess vertical and horizontal equity in utilization among Nepali older adults. Data are from an existing cross-sectional study involving systematic random sampling of 260 older adults in Far-Western (Sudurpaschim) Province of Nepal. Andersen's theoretical framework was used to assess predisposing, enabling, and need factors that have the potential to influence health care utilization. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine potential correlates of HCU. Horizontal and vertical equity were assessed using concentration curve and index. More than one-third of participants had not visited a health facility in the prior 12 months. Nine in 10 participants did not know about the government's free health service for older adults. Joint/extended family type, Ayurvedic/Homeopathic health care preference, higher-income tertile, and presence of chronic conditions were associated with higher odds of health care utilization in adjusted analyses. The concentration curve for HCU lies below the line of equity, and the subsequent index is positive, indicating that HCU was concentrated among richer individuals. If the government of Nepal is to achieve its goal of universal health care, the existing pro-rich inequity in HCU needs to be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-245
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


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