Children health-seeking behaviour can considerably reduce child death

Children are considered as the most vulnerable group in any community. Child morbidity appears as a significant phenomenon worldwide (Mahejabin et al. 2014). Each year about 8.1 million children globally die within their 5 years because of less investment in child welfare; among them, about 40% of deaths occur in the neonatal period (Ahamd et al. 2000; Anne et al. 2015). Deaths mostly occur at home are preventable (Mahejabin 2014; WHO 2012; Darmstadt et al. 2006). Developing countries have made remarkable success in maternal and child health in the past decades (Koenig 2007). Neonatal mortality (under-five mortality), however, is comparatively high (57%) in Bangladesh compared to other developing countries (Moran et al. 2009; NIPORT 2003). Child health organizations—both national and international—have been giving priority to reducing neonatal mortality in developing countries. They are, hence, committed to taking initiatives to improve the socioeconomic condition of families for safeguarding their children (Pebley 1993). Although their efforts improve medical services for women and children worldwide (Amin 2007; Ensor et al. 2002), these facilities are still insufficient in Bangladesh (Amin et al. 2010; Mondal et al. 2009; Jahan 2007; NIPORT 2004; Perry 2000; Gwatkin et al. 2004; Gwatkin et al. 2000; Victoria et al. 2002; Wagstaff 2001).  

Most (about 70%) infant deaths occur, according to WHO and UNICEF, due to preventable and common child diseases in developing countries (Anne et al. 2015; WHO 1997). Studies show that quality, cost, distance from health services centers, cultural beliefs, attitudes and superstition including insufficient medical services are mainly responsible for higher child mortality in the rural areas of Bangladesh. These factors largely affect both health-seeking behaviour and child mortality (Anne et al. 2015; Das 2004; Katung 2001; Levin et al. 2001; Cleland et al. 1988; Caldwell 1986). Moreover, parental education and income have a strong impact on child health and mortality (Kamal 2011; Mondal et al. 2009; Ahmed et al. 2003; Stephenson 2004; Howlader et al. 1997).  

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While mothers’ conscious health-seeking behaviour can considerably reduce child death in Bangladesh (Mahejabin 2014; Awoke 2013), their health-seeking behaviour for their children is also influenced by their socioeconomic factors. Drawing on the existing literature and modified behavioural model of Andersen (1975), this study investigates the impacts of mother’s health-seeking behaviour on child health status in Sylhet, Bangladesh. this study may contribute to existing literature by adding the patterns of health seeking behaviour of mothers living in rural areas of Bangladesh.