Delivery by skilled birth attendants (SBAs) is strongly recommended to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality. The percentage of births attended by SBAs is low in Bangladesh (42% in 2014), though this rate varies widely by divisions, with the highest 58% in Khulna and only 27% in Sylhet. Comparing and critically analyzing the practices, distributions and determinants of delivery attendance in two divisions with the highest and lowest SBA attendance could help to understand the differences and to employ the findings of the high-performing division to the low-performing division.
The 7th Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS 2014) data were analyzed. After reporting the types of delivery attendants, logistic regression analyses were applied to calculate the odds ratios of determinants of deliveries attended by SBAs.
SBAs attended 225 (58.6%) and 128 (27.4%) deliveries in Khulna and Sylhet, respectively. Khulna had higher birth attendance by qualified doctors (42.5%, n = 163) than Sylhet (15.8%, n = 74). Sylhet had higher attendance by traditional attendants (60.8%, n = 285) than Khulna (33.7%, n = 129). In both regions, attendance by community skilled birth attendants (CSBAs) was very low (< 1%). Khulna had higher percentages of women with higher education level, husbands’ higher education, antenatal care (ANC) visits by SBAs, and higher wealth quintiles than Sylhet.
In multivariable analyses, higher education level (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 8.4; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.9–36.7), ANC visits (AOR: 3.6; 95% CI: 2.0–6.5), family planning workers’ visit (AOR: 3.0; 95% CI: 1.6–5.4), and belonging to richer (AOR: 2.6; 95% CI: 1.4–5.1) or richest (AOR: 3.8; 95% CI: 1.9–7.6) household wealth quintiles had significant positive associations with deliveries by SBAs in Sylhet. Similarly, ANC visits (AOR: 2.5; 95% CI: 1.4–4.6) and higher wealth quintile (AOR: 4.7; 95% CI: 1.9–11.5) were positive predictors in Khulna.
The higher proportion of educated women and their husbands, wealth status and ANC visits were associated with higher SBA utilization in Khulna compared to Sylhet. Improvement of socioeconomic status, increasing birth attendant awareness programs, providing ANC services, and family-planning workers’ visits could increase the proportion of SBA-attended deliveries in Sylhet Division. CSBA program should be re-evaluated for both divisions.