Determinants of antenatal and postnatal care visits among indigenous people in Bangladesh: A study of the Mru community

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Introduction: Antenatal and postnatal care services are significant interventions to improve maternal health and prevent maternal and infant deaths. However, these services are poorly developed in Bangladesh, particularly among Indigenous women. This study examined factors associated with antenatal and postnatal care visits among the Mru, the most underprivileged Indigenous people in Bangladesh. Methods: This cross-sectional study used both quantitative and qualitative methods. In total, 374 currently married Mru women with at least one child aged 5 years or younger were selected from 3 upazilas (sub-districts) of Bandarban District, Bangladesh for survey. In addition, in-depth interviews were performed with 26 Mru leaders, Mru women, traditional midwives, village 'doctors', school teachers, health and non-government organization workers. Associations between antenatal and postnatal care visits and the women's backgrounds characteristics were assessed by bivariate and multivariate analyses. Results: The traditional Mru prenatal and postnatal practices potentially inhibited women from seeking care. Both antenatal (11.2%) and postnatal (6.4%) care visits among the Mru women were lower than the national level. Most visits were to traditional midwives in their rural villages, rather than to health complexes or hospitals. The main reasons for lack of antenatal and postnatal care were travelling distance to care and transportation problems. Multivariate analysis revealed factors associated with antenatal care were the respondent's place of residence, age, level of education, distance to the service centers and exposure to any mass media. Similar results were obtained with regard to postnatal care visits. Conclusions: This study suggests that cultural issues, distance, infrastructure and socioeconomic status are important determinants of maternal healthcare-seeking behavior. Healthcare delivery systems and appropriate education programs should be developed at the village level to improve the health of mothers and children in the Mru community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1672
JournalRural and Remote Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Antenatal care
  • Bangladesh
  • Indigenous people
  • Postnatal care
  • The mru

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