Women's preferences for maternal healthcare services in Bangladesh: evidence from a discrete choice experiment
journal contributionposted on 2019-02-01, 00:00 authored by Rashidul Alam Mahumud, Nadia Ishrat Alamgir, Md Tarek Hossain, Elaine Baruwa, Marufa SultanaMarufa Sultana, Jeff Gow, Khorshed Alam, Syed Masud Ahmed, Jahangir A M Khan
Despite substantial improvements in several maternal health indicators, childbearing and birthing remain a dangerous experience for many women in Bangladesh. This study assessed the relative importance of maternal healthcare service characteristics to Bangladeshi women when choosing a health facility to deliver their babies. The study used a mixed-methods approach. Qualitative methods (expert interviews, focus group discussions) were initially employed to identify and develop the characteristics which most influence a women’s decision making when selecting a maternal health service facility. A discrete choice experiment (DCE) was then constructed to elicit women’s preferences. Women were shown choice scenarios representing hypothetical health facilities with nine attributes outlined. The women were then asked to rank the attributes they considered most important in the delivery of their future babies. A Hierarchical Bayes method was used to measure mean utility parameters. A total of 601 women completed the DCE survey. The model demonstrated significant predictive strength for actual facility choice for maternal health services. The most important attributes were the following: consistent access to a female doctor, the availability of branded drugs, respectful provider attitudes, a continuum of maternal healthcare including the availability of a C-section delivery and lesser waiting times. Attended maternal healthcare utilisation rates are low despite the access to primary healthcare facilities. Further implementation of quality improvements in maternal healthcare facilities should be prioritised.