Determinants of the use of maternal health services in rural Bangladesh

Health Promot Int. 2003 Dec;18(4):327-37. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dag414.


Utilization of health services is a complex behavioral phenomenon. Empirical studies of preventive and curative services have often found that use of health services is related to the availability, quality and cost of services, as well as to social structure, health beliefs and personal characteristics of the users. In this paper an attempt is made to examine the factors associated with the use of maternal health care services in Bangladesh on the basis of data from a survey of maternal morbidity in Bangladesh, conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Research for Promotion of Essential and Reproductive Health and Technologies (BIRPERHT). The results from both the bivariate and multivariate analyses confirmed the importance of mother's education in explaining the utilization of health care services. Female education retains a net effect on maternal health service use, independent of other women's background characteristics, household's socioeconomic status and access to healthcare services. The strong influence of mother's education on the utilization of health care services is consistent with findings from other studies. Women whose husbands are involved in business/services also positively influenced the utilization of modern health care services. However, the study results are inconclusive with respect to the influence of other predisposing and enabling factors, such as women's age, number of previous pregnancies and access to health facilities. Multivariate logistic regression estimates do not show any significant impact of these factors on the use of maternal health care. The influence of severity of disease condition in explaining the utilization of maternal health care appears to be significant. Multivariate analysis indicate that women having had a life-threatening condition are little over two times more likely to seek care from a doctor or nurse to treat their maternal morbidities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bangladesh
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rural Health Services / statistics & numerical data*