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PLoS One. 2019 Jan 10;14(1):e0210433. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210433. eCollection 2019.

Prevalence, determinants and health care-seeking behavior of childhood acute respiratory tract infections in Bangladesh.

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Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), Dhaka, Bangladesh.
School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Burwood, Melbourne, Australia.
Health Systems and Population Studies Division, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), Dhaka, Bangladesh.
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom.
University of Southern Queensland, Queensland, Australia.



Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are one of the leading causes of child mortality worldwide and contribute significant health burden for developing nations such as Bangladesh. Seeking care and prompt management is crucial to reduce disease severity and to prevent associated morbidity and mortality.


This study investigated the prevalence and care-seeking behaviors among under-five children in Bangladesh and identified factors associated with ARI prevalence and subsequent care-seeking behaviors.


The present study analyzed cross-sectional data from the 2014 Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey. Bivariate analysis was performed to estimate the prevalence of ARIs and associated care-seeking. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the influencing socio-economic and demographic predictors. A p-value of <0.05 was considered as the level of significance.


Among 6,566 under-five children, 5.42% had experienced ARI symptoms, care being sought for 90% of affected children. Prevalence was significantly higher among children < 2 years old, and among males. Children from poorer and the poorest quintiles of households were 2.40 (95% CI = 1.12, 5.15) and 2.36 (95% CI = 1.06, 5.24) times more likely to suffer from ARIs compared to the wealthiest group. Seeking care was significantly higher among female children (AOR = 2.19, 95% CI = 0.94, 5.12). The likelihood of seeking care was less for children belonging to the poorest quintile compared to the richest (AOR = 0.03, 95% CI = 0.01, 0.55). Seeking care from untrained providers was 3.74 more likely among rural residents compared to urban (RRR = 3.74, 95% CI = 1.10, 12.77).


ARIs continue to contribute high disease burden among under-five children in Bangladesh lacking of appropriate care-seeking behavior. Various factors, such as age and sex of the children, wealth index, the education of the mother, and household lifestyle factors were significantly associated with ARI prevalence and care-seeking behaviors. In addition to public-private actions to increase service accessibility for poorer households, equitable and efficient service distribution and interventions targeting households with low socio-economic status and lower education level, are recommended.

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Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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