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AHEAD Working Papers Series

N° 02/2017

Zehnati, A., Bousmah, M.a.Q., & Abu-Zaineh, M. (2017). Public-private differentials in health care delivery: The case of cesarean deliveries in Algeria


Akin to other developing countries, Algeria has witnessed an increasing role of the private health sector in the past two decades. Our study sheds light on the public-private overlap and the phenomenon of physician dual practice in the provision of health care services using the particular case of cesarean deliveries in Algeria. Existing studies have reported that, compared to the public sector, delivering in a private health facility increases the risk of enduring a cesarean section. While confirming this result for the case of Algeria, our study also reveals the existence of public-private differentials in the effect of medical variables on the probability of cesarean delivery. After controlling for selection in both sectors, we show that cesarean deliveries in the private sector tend to be less medically justified compared with those taking place in the public sector, thus, potentially leading to maternal and neonatal health problems. As elsewhere, the contribution of the private health sector to the unmet need for health care in Algeria hinges on an appropriate legal framework that better coordinates the activities of the two sectors and reinforces their complementarity.