Dynamics of Health Care Seeking Behaviour of Elderly People in Rural Bangladesh

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Priti Biswas
Zarina Nahar Kabir
Jan Nilsson
Shahaduz Zaman


Bangladesh is projected to experience a doubling of its elderly population from the current level of 7 million to 14 million by the end of the next decade. Drawing upon qualitative evidence from rural Bangladesh, this article focuses on coping strategies in cases of illness of elderly people and the contributing factors in determining the health-seeking behaviour of elderly persons. The sample for this study consisted of elderly men and women aged 60 years or older and their caregivers. Nine focus group discussions and 30 in-depth interviews were conducted. Findings indicate that old age and ill-health are perceived to be inseparable entities. Seeking health care from a formally qualified doctor is avoided due to high costs. Familiarity and accessibility of health care providers play important roles in health-seeking behaviour of elderly persons. Flexibility of health care providers in receiving payment is a crucial deciding factor of whether or not to seek treatment, and even the type of treatment sought.


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