The below poverty line (BPL) population in rural Bangladesh have low access to hospital inpatient-care (IPC) services. The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) launched pilot Shasthyo Suroksha Karmasuchi (SSK) at Kalihati Upazila of Tangail district in 2016 aiming to improve IPC access of the BPL population and financial protection for healthcare. The GoB funded scheme provides IPC for 78 diseases and outpatient consultation through an existing health facility. In this study, we aimed to assess the level of healthcare utilization among the scheme beneficiaries and identify the associated factors with utilization.
This was an exploratory study with a cross-sectional household survey conducted from July to September 2018 among 806 sampled households using a structured questionnaire. Data on illness and healthcare utilization was collected from the selected households for the last 90 days of the interview date. A logistic regression model was applied to determine the factors associated with healthcare utilization from SSK facility.
Overall, 8% of the ill patients in the last 90 days prior to survey sought healthcare from SSK facilities (n=639; total patients who sought care), 28% from medically trained providers (MTPs), and 64% from non-MTPs. Of the 23 (3.6%) patients who sought inpatient care (IPC), less than half (10 patients) of them utilized IPC under SSK. Individuals with accident/injury, unemployed, having knowledge about SSK, non-BPL status, were more likely to utilize healthcare from SSK facility. Individuals reside more than 15 km away from facility, had 4-5 family members, and above secondary level education were less likely to utilize care from SSK facility.
It is evident that healthcare utilization of beneficiaries from the SSK scheme was very low. Effective strategies for enhancing knowledge on SSK benefits and precise BPL households targeting can be instrumental in increasing utilization of the scheme. The scheme also has a potential to bring the individuals under its coverage who utilize healthcare from other MTP and non-MTP.