IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Inequity in Formal Health Care Use: Evidence from Rural Bangladesh


  • Syed Abdul Hamid
  • Syed M. Ahsan
  • Afroza Begum
  • Chowdhury Abdullah Al Asif


This paper analyzes inequity in health care use in rural Bangladesh using data from a survey conducted by Microinsurance Research Unit (MRU) of the Institute of Microfinance (InM) of 4,010 households drawn from 120 villages. The study focuses on formal health care use over the 12 months preceding the survey. We use both the ‘need standardized’ approach and ‘decomposition analysis’ for measuring inequity. The paper finds that the use of formal health care is incredibly low (40%); about two-thirds (65%) of which is private health care and only one-fourth utilizes public sector facilities. Inequity in formal health care use favors the better-off although the level of inequity is modest. Prevailing inequity resides mainly in the utilization of private health care while NCDs contribute significantly to this inequity. Thus, the main public health concern in rural areas of Bangladesh is the low utilization of formal health care (especially public health care), not inequity. From a policy perspective therefore, voluntary health insurance is not an answer so far as chronic NCDs are concerned; social insurance is not quite feasible either due to the large informal economy. Hope therefore lies in the public provision of health care although the latter is plagued by various supply side constraints including meager budgetary resources, daunting governance issues and hence the need for reforms to enhance efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Syed Abdul Hamid & Syed M. Ahsan & Afroza Begum & Chowdhury Abdullah Al Asif, 2014. "Inequity in Formal Health Care Use: Evidence from Rural Bangladesh," Working Papers 28, Institute of Microfinance (InM).
  • Handle: RePEc:imb:wpaper:28

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Syed Hamid & Syed Ahsan & Afroza Begum, 2014. "Disease-Specific Impoverishment Impact of Out-of-Pocket Payments for Health Care: Evidence from Rural Bangladesh," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 421-433, August.

    More about this item


    Inequity; pro-poor; pro-rich; decomposition analysis; need standardized approach; Bangladesh.;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imb:wpaper:28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jabeer Al Sherazy). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.