Abstract: This study mainly aims to identify the major factors determining the choice of healthcare providers. It also examines the characteristics and the patterns of choice of different healthcare providers by the patients in Bangladesh. It is based on primary data collected from an advanced village and a non-advanced village of a randomly selected Upazilla (sub-district) using both structured and semi-structured questionnaires and qualitative techniques. Although, public facility at the selected upazila (sub-district) is technically and structurally developed and provides healthcare without charging any consultation fee, most (52%) of the people in the selected area receive health services from informal providers. It was found that patients of non-advanced village were more inclined to seek care from informal providers than advanced village. Both supply side and demand side factors are seemed to affect the choice of informal providers. Income, education and occupation of household heads are found as important determinants to influence the choice of providers. Most (64%) of the patients of the poorest quintile received care from informal providers while most (55%) of the patients of the richest quintile received care from modern providers. About 54% of the patients among those who had no formal education received care from informal providers. But among those who had over 10 years of education, only 32% sought care from informal providers while 60% sought care from modern private providers. Most of the patients whose household heads` education level is low and household heads engaged in low status occupation sought care from informal providers. Some factors like cheap treatment, easy access, and availability whenever needed and perceived quality of care fascinated the patients to choose informal providers. Unavailability of providers in public hospital is identified as the main reason for not seeking care from public providers. Measures should be adopted to reduce the supply of informal care with concomitant increase in the supply of modern care. It is also important to increase the demand for modern care reducing the demand for the informal care.
Syed Abdul Hamid , Md. Zia Sadique , Shamsuddin Ahmed and Azher Ali Molla , 2005. Determinants of Choice of Healthcare Providers: Evidence from Selected Rural Areas of Bangladesh . Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences, 3: 437-444.