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FHS Bangladesh Research Brief 2 - Costs of utilizing healthcare services in Chakaria, a rural area in Bangladesh

Future Health Systems

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An overwhelming majority of the population in Bangladesh lives below the poverty threshold limiting their access to critical healthcare and other basic needs. Episodes of illness and ill health may result in substantial medical expenses and trigger impoverishment of households. Cost of healthcare services may deter or delay patients, especially the poor, from seeking appropriate care. Affordability or perceived costs of care are signicant factors inuencing healthcare behaviour such as choice of the provider and time of care. The private non-physician healthcare sector is the most common source of curative care.

The large informal private sector in Bangladesh consists of many different types of partially qualied and unqualied practitioners, providing care of low quality. Irrespective of their inadequate treatment practices, the informal healthcare practitioners are quite popular among a wide cross section of the rural population. The perceived costs associated with the different healthcare options are probably important factors determining healthcare seeking behaviour. Thus it is important to examine the economic consequences of healthcare utilization in rural Bangladesh.