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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 49-58

Impact of COVID-19 on essential health services in Bangladesh: A rapid assessment

1 Department of Health Informatics, Bangladesh University of Health Sciences, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2 Department of Reproductive and Child Health, Bangladesh University of Health Sciences, Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh
3 Advocacy, Innovation and Migration, BRAC, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh
4 Advocacy for Social Change, BRAC, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Md Shahriar Mahbub
Department of Reproductive and Child Health, Bangladesh University of Health Sciences, Mirpur, Dhaka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JIMPH.JIMPH_6_22

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BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic, one of the greatest public health challenges, has unleashed damage to human health as well as socioeconomic disruptions on an unprecedented scale. The study looked into the experiences of the people seeking essential healthcare services during COVID-19 and the short-term and long-term consequences of the denial of getting these services during the pandemic. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This rapid assessment collected data from 2,483 randomly selected households having an average family size of 4.89 people residing in 16 districts of 8 divisions during the reference period of April 2020 to August 2020. RESULTS: A decline of around 10% in the recommended number of antenatal check-ups (4 or more) was observed. Fear of infection, economic fallout, and absence/redeployment of medical staff to pandemic management are the primary reasons many pregnant women avoided seeking necessary healthcare. Only 1 in 5 (21%) of surveyed households received the family planning services that they required. Around a quarter of all newborn children missed the BCG vaccination. More than half (56.3%) of the families with members having chronic diseases opted for self-exclusion from healthcare services. The healthcare cost increased while the average income decreased by a third of the pre-pandemic level. The inability to express problems adequately to a physician was the commonest difficulty faced by the respondents while using telemedicine—a useful tool during a health crisis. CONCLUSION: Measures need to be taken based on the assessment to mitigate any potential long-term impact on people surviving the COVID-19 pandemic.

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