Utilization of maternal health services among adolescent women in Bangladesh: A scoping review of the literature

A systematic review looked at 12 articles published on adolescent maternal health and tried to identify the gaps in research. The studies were selected from a pool of 2627 articles published within 2003-2013.

It was evident that women’s education was the most potent actor in accessing skilled maternal health services among married adolescent women in Bangladesh.

Women with higher education, higher decision making autonomy and financial stability all contribute positively towards utilisation of maternal health services by adolescent girls.
Studies also highlighted the problem of child marriage which is predominant in Bangladesh. There was also a big lack of utilisation of health service by under 19 age group. Who, in fact, are the ones needing it the most. Availability, quality and cost of health services, beliefs and social structures and customs were also found as important causes of under-utilization of health services by the adolescent girls.
A gap in the studies was found relating to quality and accessibility of health services in obtaining adequate skilled maternal health services, where future researchers may focus their research. The role of religion on healthcare-seeking behaviour was also not addressed in the studies.

More qualitative and mixed-method studies are needed to address the gaps identified in this article.

A.S.M. Shahabuddin is a Researcher in the Unit of Maternal and Reproductive Health, Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. He is also an Assistant Professor at the James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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