Maternal health-seeking behavior is not only a crucial public health issue but also a serious women’s health concern in Bangladesh. The present study examines the relationship between couples’ socioeconomic status and maternal health-seeking behavior in comparison of rural areas and urban communities in Bangladesh. Based on the research objectives, it included 95 rural and 95 urban couples (total 190 couples) randomly selected from purposively selected rural areas and urban communities in Thakurgaon District (north western area of Bangladesh). Results of the present study indicate that the rate of illiteracy was higher in rural sites than in the urban communities (rural: husbands - 25.26% and wives - 13.69%; urban: husbands - 5.26% and wives - 10.52%). The main occupation in rural areas is agriculture for husbands (48.42%) and home making for wives (84.21%) compared to 36.84% urban husbands in services and 75.79% wives in home making. By income, most of the rural couples (47.37%) earn less than Tk. 2000 per month compared to 1.05% in urban area. Data also indicates that 47.37% of rural women did not have medical check-ups during the pregnancy period, 73.69% gave birth at home and 68.42% used a traditional birth attendant (TBA) compared to 20.0%, 38.94% and 33.69% in the urban communities, respectively. The data analysis explores that, both in rural and urban communities, the low rate of maternal health-seeking behavior (e.g., no check-up, child birth at home, and traditional birth attendant) was higher among the husbands with illiteracy, wives only engaged in home-making jobs, and the couples earning less than Bangladesh taka 2000 (1 USD = 83 BDT in currency exchange) in a month. The findings suggest that education, income and particularly women’s employment or women’s engagement in income generating activities should be taken into account in addressing maternal health issues in Bangladesh.
Socioeconomic Status and Maternal Health-seeking Behavior: A Comparative Study between a Rural Site and an Urban Community in Bangladesh.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 21(6), 122-134.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol21/iss6/7