Who receives healthcare? Age and sex differentials in adult use of healthcare services in rural bangladesh.
Use of healthcare services may vary according to the cultural, social, economic and demographic situation of the person who may need care. In certain contexts, it particularly varies with age and sex of the potential user. Bangladesh is a less developed, primarily rural and predominantly Muslim traditional society with a pluralistic healthcare system. This paper endeavours to delineate the age, sex and other factors associated with obtaining healthcare in this pluralistic system. Using the Matlab Health and Socio-economic Survey, the paper uses logistic regression to ask whether factors commonly related to Western healthcare utilization in a theoretical framework useful in the study of Western research on healthcare services are also useful in the study of healthcare utilization in the developing world. Elderly women, never-married women and Hindus were less likely to visit any practitioner, which may indicate less health empowerment for these groups. Obtaining care is inversely related to household size and positively related to age (for men), education, poor health status and impaired mobility. Controlling for these factors, household wealth and ever-married status showed no significant effect on obtaining care. The differential in use of healthcare services can partially be ameliorated by changes in policy related to the elderly and women.