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Women’s decision-making autonomy and utilisation of maternal healthcare services: results from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey
Authors: Bishwajit Ghose, Da Feng, Shangfeng Tang, Sanni Yaya, Zhifei He, Ogochukwu Udenigwe, Sharmistha Ghosh, and Zhanchun Feng
Source: BMJ Open, 7:e017142; DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017142
Topic(s): Health care utilization
Household decision-making
Maternal health
Women's autonomy
Country: Asia
Published: SEP 2017
Abstract: Objectives The aim of this study was to determine the association between women’s decision-making power and utilisation of maternal healthcare services (MHS) among Bangladeshi women. Settings This is a nationally representative survey that encompassed Dhaka, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Chittagong, Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet in Bangladesh. Sample households were selected by a two-stage stratification technique. First, 207 clusters in urban areas and 393 in rural areas were selected for 600 enumeration areas with proportional probability. In the second stage, on average 30 households were selected systematically from the enumeration areas. Finally, 17?989 households were selected for the survey of which 96% were interviewed successfully. Participants Cross-sectional data on 4309 non-pregnant women were collected from Bangladesh demographic and health survey 2014. Decision-making status on respondent's own healthcare, large household purchases, having a say on child’s healthcare and visiting to family or relatives were included in the analysis. Results Prevalence of at least four antenatal attendance, facility delivery and postnatal check-up were respectively 32.6% (95% CI 31.2 to 34), 40.6% (95% CI 39.13 to 42.07) and 66.3% (95% CI 64.89 to 67.71). Compared with women who could make decisions alone, women in the urban areas who had to decide on their healthcare with husband/partner had 20% (95% CI 0.794 to 1.799) higher odds of attending at least four antenatal visits and those in rural areas had 35% (95% CI 0.464 to 0.897) lower odds of attending at least four antenatal visits. Women in urban and rural areas had respectively 43% (95% CI 0.941 to 2.169) and 28% (95% CI 0.928 to 1.751) higher odds of receiving postnatal check-up when their health decisions were made jointly with their husband/partner. Conclusion Neither making decisions alone, nor deciding jointly with husband/partner was always positively associated with the utilisation of all three types of MHS. This study concludes that better spousal cooperation on household and health issues could lead to higher utilisation of MHS services.