Exploring healthcare landscape in urban Bangladesh: findings from health facility mapping of Dinajpur municipality in Bangladesh
BACKGROUND: Bangladesh is rapidly urbanising. Rapid urbanisation can be linked to both adverse and beneficial effects for public health. Population growth due to urbanisation has increased the demand for basic services (i.e. health). At the same time, limited government investments have created a vacuum in the provision of public health services in urban areas. The research project aimed to map the current status of the available healthcare providers for the urban population to promote evidence-based planning and decision making. The data included mapping of the existing health facilities of selected city corporations in urban Bangladesh (i.e. Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Khulna, Rajshahi, and Narayanganj) to reflect the demands and availability of services for the urban poor. Mapping of healthcare facilities in Dinajpur Municipality was the continuation of this initiative. icddr,b conducted a health facility mapping exercise in Dinajpur Municipality between March 2016 to April 2016. The aim was to document the geospatial data of existing public, non-government organisations, and private healthcare facilities in Dinajpur Municipality and to record the general and service features of selected service providers. METHODS: The data collection was a two-step process. In the first step, all the health facilities currently in operation were listed. In the next step, a health facility survey was conducted. A semi-structured tab-based facility survey questionnaire was developed for this purpose. Trained data collectors visited the facilities and interviewed the authorised personnel of the health facilities to collect information on the health facilities using the questionnaire. RESULTS: Eight hundred and six facilities were listed in Dinajpur Municipality. About 84 percent (674 out of 806) of the total facilities were private, mostly pharmacies and doctors chambers. Most of the 24/7 services were offered by private sector facilities and clustered in the central part of the city. There was a relative lack of emergency and critical care services. CONCLUSIONS: This report describes the results of a health facility mapping initiative in a municipality in Bangladesh using geospatial technology. The result suggests that the private sector dominates the healthcare landscape of Dinajpur municipality. The distribution of primary healthcare centres should be reconsidered to ensure satisfactory accessibility by all.