Identifying risk factors in explaining women’s anaemia in limited resource areas: evidence from West Bengal of India and Bangladesh

Arup Jana, Aparajita Chattopadhyay*, Unnati Rani Saha

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Anaemia among women is a public health problem with associated adverse outcomes for mother and child. This study investigates the determinants of women’s anaemia in two Bengals; West Bengal (a province of India) and Bangladesh. These two spaces are inhabitated by Bengali speaking population since historic past. The study argues that open defecation, contraceptive method use and food consumption patterns are playing crucial role in explaining anaemia. Methods: Using non-pregnant women belonging to different religious groups, we analyzed a total of 21,032 women aged 15–49 from the nationally representative cross-sectional surveys, i.e., Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey (BDHS-VI, 2011) and National Family Health Survey (NFHS round 4, 2015–16). We performed spatial, bivariate and logistic regression analyses to unfold the important risk factors of anaemia in two Bengals. Results: The prevalence of anaemia was 64% in West Bengal and 41% in Bangladesh. The significant risk factors explaining anaemia were use of sterilization, vegetarian diet and open defecation. Further, women who used groundwater (tube well or well) for drinking suffered more from anaemia. Also, younger women, poor, less educated and having more children were highly likely to be anaemic. The study also indicates that those who frequently consumed non-vegetarian items and fruits in West Bengal and experienced household food security in Bangladesh were less prone to be anaemic. Hindus of West Bengal, followed by Muslims of that state and then Hindus of Bangladesh were at the higher risk of anaemia compared to Muslims of Bangladesh, indicating the stronger role of space over religion in addressing anaemia. Unlike West Bengal, Bangladesh observed distinct regional differences in women's anaemia. Conclusions: Propagating the choices of contraception mainly Pill/ injection/IUDs and making the availability of iron rich food along with a favourable community environment in terms of safe drinking water and improved sanitation besides better education and economic condition can help to tackle anaemia in limited-resource areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1433
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2022

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