Access to and Utilization of Health Services in Rural Bangladesh -A Gender Perspective
Abstract: Variations in utilization rates of health services between different groups in society indicate inequity in access to these services. Such inequities originate from observable access barriers such as distance and price, as well as from more subtle, cultural barriers such as lack of female autonomy and control over household resources. With focus on gender inequality, and with Bangladesh as a case study, this thesis uses cross-sectional data to determine which factors that affect health service utilization. Moreover, arsenicosis (chronic arsenic poisoning) is used as a tracer disease, both in a qualitative study of access barriers and for a brief discussion of the utilization of satellite clinics as a means to overcome these barriers. The results indicate that when ill, women are as much as 50 percent less likely than their male counterparts to utilize health care. Poverty, literacy and access variables are also shown to be important determinants of health care use. Poverty, distance, quality of care, lack of knowledge and education, as well as community and cultural preferences were in Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) identified as barriers to accessing care for arsenicosis patients.
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