Urbanization has been progressing quickly in Indonesia and the consequences on health and health inequities are still not well understood. In this paper, we present new empirical evidence on the differences in the utilization of health care services between rural and urban areas as well as for the respective health inequities. Exploiting the rich dataset of the Indonesian Family Life Survey, this paper measures the socioeconomic inequality of health care utilization for the case of the diagnosis of hypertension and its medication. In the Indonesian Family Life Survey, about 45% of all respondents over the age of 39 were found to suffer from hypertension (average systolic blood pressure higher than 140). However, more than half of the people with hypertension have never been diagnosed by a health care professional, and only a small fraction of the people suffering from hypertension are taking medicine for it. Our analysis further shows that diagnosis and medication rates are significantly higher in urban areas than in rural areas, implying that urban areas offer better access to health care services and medicines. Calculating concentration indices, we find that underdiagnosis of hypertension is more prevalent among the poor and this health inequality is more pronounced in rural areas. For the case of medication, we are unable to detect strong evidence of inequality either in rural or urban areas, as most Indonesians with hypertension do not take medicine irrespective of their socioeconomic status. Finally, decomposition analysis shows that the inequality in education, access to health care centers, living standards, and the possession of a television can explain a large fraction of the inequality of diagnosis and medication.
hypertension health care health services Indonesia urbanization