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Maternal postnatal care in Bangladesh: a closer look at specific content and coverage by different types of providers
Authors: Eunsoo Timothy Kim, Kavita Singh, and William Weiss
Source: Journal of Global Health Reports, 3: e2019004; DOI:10.29392/joghr.3.e2019004
Topic(s): Maternal health
Postnatal care
Country: Asia
Published: MAY 2019
Abstract: Background The first 48 hours after birth is a critical window of time for the survival for both mothers and their newborns. Timely and adequate postnatal care (PNC) is being promoted as a strategy to reduce both maternal and newborn mortality. Whether or not a woman has received a postnatal check within 48 hours has been well studied, however, specific content and type of provider are also important for understanding the quality of the check. The objective of this paper is to understand who receives specific PNC interventions by type of provider in Bangladesh. Methods Data from the 2014 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) were used to study receipt of specific PNC interventions – breast exam, vaginal discharge exam, temperature check and counseling on danger signs – within 2 days of birth. Descriptive bivariate analyses and regression analyses using generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to understand if receipt of an intervention differed by socio-economic and health-related factors. A key factor studied was the type of provider of the PNC. Results The proportion of women receiving specific interventions during maternal PNC was mostly low (41.81% for breast exam, 39.72% for vaginal discharge, 82.22% for temperature check, 55.56% for counseling on danger signs and 16.95% for all four interventions). Findings from the regression analyses indicated that compared to having postnatal contact with formal providers (doctors, nurses, midwives and paramedics), having postnatal contact with village doctors was significantly associated with lower probabilities of receiving a breast exam, vaginal discharge exam and receiving all four interventions. PNC provided by NGO workers and other community attendants was significantly associated with a lower probability of receiving a vaginal discharge exam but a higher probability of receiving counseling on danger signs. Conclusions During PNC, women were much more likely to receive a temperature check than counseling on danger signs, breast exams or vaginal discharge exams. Very few women received all four interventions. In the situation where Bangladesh is experiencing a shortage of high-level providers, training more types of providers, particularly informal village doctors, may be an important strategy for improving the quality of PNC.