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Gender, socioeconomic development and health-seeking behaviour in Bangladesh


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  • Ahmed, Syed Masud
  • Adams, Alayne M.
  • Chowdhury, Mushtaque
  • Bhuiya, Abbas
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    In efforts to reduce gender and socioeconomic disparities in the health of populations, the provision of medical services alone is clearly inadequate. While socioeconomic development is assumed important in rectifying gender and socioeconomic inequities in health care access, service use and ultimately, outcomes, empirical evidence of its impact is limited. Using cross-sectional data from the BRAC-ICDDR,B Joint Research Project in Matlab, Bangladesh, this paper examines the impact of membership in BRAC's integrated Rural Development Programme (RDP) on gender equity and health-seeking behaviour. Differences in health care seeking are explored by comparing a sample of households who are BRAC members with a sample of BRAC-eligible non-members. Individuals from the BRAC member group report significantly less morbidity (15-day recall) than those from the non-member group, although no gender differences in the prevalence of self-reported morbidity are apparent in either group. Sick individuals from BRAC member households tend to seek care less frequently than non-members. When treatment is sought, BRAC members rely to a greater extent on home remedies, traditional care, and unqualified allopaths than non-member households. While reported treatment seeking from qualified allopaths is more prevalent in the BRAC group, non-members use the para-professional services of community health care workers almost twice as frequently. In both BRAC member and non-member groups, women suffering illness report seeking care significantly less often than men. The policy and programmatic implications of between group and gender differences in care seeking are discussed with reference to the literature.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 51 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 3 (August)
    Pages: 361-371

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:3:p:361-371

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    Keywords: Health seeking behaviour Socioeconomic development Micro-credit Gender Health;


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    Cited by:
    1. Pouliot, Mariève, 2011. "Relying on nature’s pharmacy in rural Burkina Faso: Empirical evidence of the determinants of traditional medicine consumption," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(10), pages 1498-1507.
    2. Anne Case & Alicia Menendez & Cally Ardington, 2005. "Health Seeking Behavior in Northern KwaZulu-Natal," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 116, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    3. M. Mizanur Rahman & Fariduddin Ahmad, 2010. "Impact of microfinance of IBBL on the rural poor's livelihood in Bangladesh: an empirical study," International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 168-190, June.
    4. Syed M. Ahsan & Syed Abdul Hamid & Shubhasish Barua, 2012. "Utilisation of Formal Health Care and Out-of-Pocket Payments in Rural Bangladesh," Working Papers 13, Institute of Microfinance (InM).


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