Article Text

Original research
Factors associated with mobile phone usage to access maternal and child healthcare among women of urban slums in Dhaka, Bangladesh: a cross-sectional study
  1. Sabuj Kanti Mistry1,2,
  2. Fahmida Akter1,
  3. Uday Narayan Yadav2,3,
  4. Md Belal Hossain1,4,
  5. Amarynth Sichel5,
  6. Alain B Labrique6,
  7. Daniel M L Storisteanu7
  1. 1BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  2. 2Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Center for Research Policy and Implementation, Biratnagar, Nepal
  4. 4School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  5. 5Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge, UK
  6. 6Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  7. 7Laboratory of Viral Zoonotics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr Sabuj Kanti Mistry; smitra411{at}


Introduction With the acute shortage of human resources and infrastructure, mobile phones can be a critical tool for accessing health services and strengthening health systems in Bangladesh. Yet, there is a scarcity of evidence on the use of mobile phones in this context for accessing health services. In this study, we sought to explore the current use of mobile phones for accessing maternal and child healthcare and its determinants among recently delivered women in urban slums of Bangladesh.

Methods The data were collected through interviewing 800 recently delivered women from eight slums of Dhaka city of Bangladesh during May and June 2018. The study followed a cross-sectional design and a two-stage cluster random sampling procedure was followed. A pretested structured questionnaire was employed to collect information. Chi square tests were performed for descriptive analyses and a multilevel binary logistic regression model was executed to explore the determinants of mobile phone usage for accessing maternal and childcare among the participants.

Results Overall, 73.8% of study participants used mobile phones for accessing maternal and child healthcare. After adjusting for potential confounders, participants’ age, husband’s occupation, sex of household head, women’s ownership of mobile phones and household wealth status were found to be significantly associated with higher odds of using mobile phones to access maternal and child healthcare.

Conclusion The study highlighted the possibility of implementing large-scale mobile health (mHealth) interventions in slum settlements for accessing maternal and child healthcare and is a sustainable mitigation strategy for the acute health worker crisis in Bangladesh. The findings of this study are particularly crucial for policymakers and practitioners while they revise the health policy to incorporate mHealth interventions as highlighted in the recently initiated Digital Health Strategy of Bangladesh.

  • telemedicine
  • epidemiology
  • health policy

Data availability statement

The data are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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Data availability statement

The data are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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  • Contributors SKM and DMLS conceived the study and contributed to the design of the study. SKM carried out the data analysis and participated in the interpretation of the results. SKM, FA, UNY and MBH wrote the first draft of the manuscript. AS, ABL and DMLS commented extensively on the draft of the manuscript to finalise it. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding We received the funding for conducting the research from the UKaid through Simprints Technology (grant no: UKAD-INN-083).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.