Self-care for health in rural Bangladesh

Edgeworth, Ross (2011) Self-care for health in rural Bangladesh. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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An interest in human coping applicable to endemic disease environments such as Bangladesh now includes disease mitigation and management through self-care. Although a frequently utilised treatment, research into the reasons behind self-care preference, types of self-care practised and the implications this has for individuals and communities in developing countries such as Bangladesh is lacking. This research therefore examines the adoption of self-care in Bangladesh and seeks to understand if it is an effective disease management strategy. A mixed methods approach was employed, targeting a representative sample of different gender, age and socioeconomic status across three locations. 630 questionnaires, 47 semi-structured interviews, 15 focus group discussions, 20 key informant interviews and a series of participatory research tools were applied to explore how and why people use self-care. Data were also used to identify behaviours indicative of appropriate and inappropriate self-care that are beneficial or detrimental to the individual. A detailed and complex picture of self-care emerged. It is widely used to prevent and respond to illness through traditional, herbal and modern pharmaceutical actions. Common illnesses and endemic diseases such as fever and diarrhoeal diseases were most frequently treated through self-care. A declining natural resource base, a hazardous flood environment and communication breakdown between doctors and patients can restrict self-care adoption. However, economic savings on healthcare expenditure, reduced opportunity costs and the means to preserve dignity represented positive aspects of self-care amongst participants. Examination of these factors demonstrated the failings of current health service provision as well as the potential for better self-care integration into existing healthcare approaches. Wider lessons for disease management were therefore derived from self-care including the importance of low cost manifold strategies and the value of local knowledge and ownership. It is concluded that although self-care is not a panacea for the burden of ill health there is evidence to suggest it can play a crucial role in coping with the insurmountable disease risks people face in Bangladesh. In doing so the research contributes to understanding self-care in developing countries as an integrated and integral component of the primary health care system and infectious disease risk reduction more widely.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
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Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2011 09:35
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 11:33

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