The effects of household's climate-related displacement on delivery and postnatal care service utilization in rural Bangladesh

Soc Sci Med. 2020 Jan 28:247:112819. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112819. Online ahead of print.


Exposure to extreme climate events causes population displacement and adversely affects the health of mothers and children in multiple ways. This paper investigates the effects of displacement on whether a child is delivered at a health center, as opposed to at home, and on postnatal care service utilization in Bangladesh. Using cross-sectional survey data from 599 mothers who gave birth in the three years prior to the date of interview, including 278 from households which had previously been displaced and 231 from households which had not been displaced, we use multivariate logistic regression to identify the factors associated with maternal healthcare service utilization. The results show that displaced households' mothers are only about a quarter as likely to deliver at a health center as mothers from non-displaced households. The use of health center-based delivery decreases as the numbers of past displacements increases. Higher number of previous children, lower use of antenatal care during pregnancy, lower household income, and lack of access to radio/television also significantly reduce a mother's likelihood of delivery at a health center. Displaced mothers are also substantially less likely to use postnatal care services for their neonates, especially those supplied by trained providers. Use of health facilities for delivery, use of antenatal care services, and previous number of children are other important predictors of postnatal care service utilization for neonates. In light of these findings, relocation of local health facilities with basic and emergency care provisions to areas in which the displaced have resettled, reinforcement of Family Planning services, and extension of coverage of the Maternity Allowance benefits in the displacement-prone mainland riverine areas are recommended policy responses.

Keywords: Bangladesh; Climate change; Climate-related displacement; Delivery and postnatal care; Maternal healthcare.