Open Access Research article

Diagnosis of chronic conditions with modifiable lifestyle risk factors in selected urban and rural areas of Bangladesh and sociodemographic variability therein

John D Parr*, Wietze Lindeboom, Masuma A Khanam and Tracey L Pérez Koehlmoos

Author Affiliations

International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Health Systems and Infectious Disease Division. Mohakali, Dhaka Bangladesh

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BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:309  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-309

Published: 11 November 2011



Bangladesh suffers from a lack of healthcare providers. The growing chronic disease epidemic's demand for healthcare resources will further strain Bangladesh's limited healthcare workforce. Little is known about how Bangladeshis with chronic disease seek care. This study describes chronic disease patients' care seeking behavior by analyzing which providers diagnose these diseases.


During 2 month periods in 2009, a cross-sectional survey collected descriptive data on chronic disease diagnoses among 3 surveillance populations within the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B) network. The maximum number of respondents (over age 25) who reported having ever been diagnosed with a chronic disease determined the sample size. Using SAS software (version 8.0) multivariate regression analyses were preformed on related sociodemographic factors.


Of the 32,665 survey respondents, 8,591 self reported having a chronic disease. Chronically ill respondents were 63.4% rural residents. Hypertension was the most prevalent disease in rural (12.4%) and urban (16.1%) areas. In rural areas chronic disease diagnoses were made by MBBS doctors (59.7%) and Informal Allopathic Providers (IAPs) (34.9%). In urban areas chronic disease diagnoses were made by MBBS doctors (88.0%) and IAP (7.9%). Our analysis identified several groups that depended heavily on IAP for coverage, particularly rural, poor and women.


IAPs play important roles in chronic disease care, particularly in rural areas. Input and cooperation from IAPs are needed to minimize rural health disparities. More research on IAP knowledge and practices regarding chronic disease is needed to properly utilize this potential healthcare resource.