Neonatal morbidity and care-seeking behaviour in rural Bangladesh

J Trop Pediatr. 2001 Apr;47(2):98-105. doi: 10.1093/tropej/47.2.98.


The present study was undertaken to assess the pattern of reported neonatal morbidity and the care-seeking behaviour for neonates in rural Bangladesh. Data were collected from 1511 women who had live births during January 1996-August 1998 in four rural subdistricts, which are the field sites of the Operations Research Project of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh. A structured questionnaire was used to collect information from the mothers who were interviewed in their homes. Forty-nine per cent of the neonates were reported to have suffered from some kind of morbidity. Fever was the most common morbidity reported in the study population (21 per cent), followed by breathing difficulty (11 per cent). Birth order, complications during pregnancy, and/or delivery and death of a sibling were found to be significantly associated with reported neonatal morbidity. Eighty-seven per cent of the mothers sought care for their newborns. Some were taken to several different providers, the commonest being homeopaths (38 per cent) and village doctors (37 per cent). Seventeen per cent were taken to trained providers, and only 5 per cent to government health facilities. Seeking care from trained providers was found to be associated with the gender of the neonate, birth order, antenatal care of the mother from trained providers, father's education and monthly expenditure of the family. The results of this study suggest that efforts should be made to raise community awareness regarding neonatal morbidity, the importance of seeking care from trained personnel and the availability of services for these conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Educational Status
  • Family
  • Female
  • Health Services, Indigenous / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Rural Population
  • Surveys and Questionnaires