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Keywords:

  • health expenditure and utilisation;
  • Kazakhstan;
  • health-seeking behaviour

Abstract

This paper seeks to analyse the findings of an extensive household survey, uncovering interesting evidence of variation in health-seeking behaviour across rural and urban areas due, it is suggested, to differences in real costs, quality of care, and perceptions of the value of health and health care. It is shown that, ceteris paribus, urban households in Kazakhstan are more likely to consult, to be admitted to hospital, to report illness, and will spend relatively more on health care.

The data suggest the need for further qualitative study into the factors underlying these patterns leading to strategies to increase the quality, acceptability and affordability of rural health services. This is important given the decline in health indicators such as life expectancy in Kazakhstan and the increased burden on households of funding health care in a time of economic insecurity and deterioration of public services. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.