Examining access to health services for women of reproductive age from ethnic communities in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh

Name: Shahinoor Akter

Supervisors: Dr Jane Rich, Dr Kate Davies and Dr Kerry Inder


Eleven Indigenous groups reside in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh. To date well-designed studies focusing on health issues of these Indigenous groups are rare. While there have been substantial improvements in maternal health in Bangladesh, there is a gap in literature regarding prevalence of accessing antenatal, delivery and post-natal services among Indigenous women in the CHT, and relevant interventions to address the issue. Evident shows that accessing health care services during reproductive age, particularly in pregnancy has positive effects on maternal and child health outcomes. Indigenous women worldwide tend to access health care services less than non-Indigenous women, and they often experience poorer health outcomes than their non-Indigenous counterparts. To ensure the health rights of underprivileged groups including Indigenous people, current global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set two goals, 3 and 10, to improve health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities through an inclusion approach. To relate closely with the SDGs goals, this study aims to examine current situation of accessing to maternal health care services among Indigenous women in the CHT, and to explore culturally appropriate ways to improve access to health care services for Indigenous women at the primary care health level in the CHT of Bangladesh.