Knowledge about existing disease pattern and health seeking behaviour is essential to provide need-based healthcare delivery and to make the healthcare system more pro-poor. A community-based cross sectional study was conducted among 493 systematically selected households to determine the prevailing disease pattern and health seeking behaviour in rural Bangladesh. More than half of the respondents gave history of illness of family members during the preceding 15 days. Fever, gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases were the most reported complaints. Overall, there were no discernible differences in the likelihood of seeking traditional or any kind of care considering socio-demographic variables and prevailing disease types. Occupation of household head as day labour or in agriculture and suffering from gastrointestinal diseases positively predicted use of para-professionals. Use of un-qualified allopaths was negatively predicted by the male gender or literacy of the household head and presence of gastrointestinal, respiratory and other types of diseases and positively predicted by occupation of the household head in agricultural field or as day labour. Use of qualified allopaths was positively predicted by respiratory, skin/eye/ENT and other types of diseases and also by standard of living and relationship of the respondents with household head and negatively predicted by agricultural or day labour work of the household head. Existence of several distinct therapeutic systems in a single cultural setting was found in the study area. It is important to develop a need based healthcare delivery system and actions should be taken to improve overall scenario of health system of rural Bangladesh.
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