Community Perceptions of Pre-eclampsia/Eclampsia

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Photo: Amy Cotter, USAID.

Beliefs and attitudes about the signs and symptoms of PE/E influence health-seeking behaviors.

In Bangladesh, researchers examined the knowledge, attitudes, and misconceptions that exist about the serious problems women experience during pregnancy and childbirth and after delivery, as well as the motivations and barriers to seeking care at health facilities. Findings show limited knowledge of convulsions, severe headaches, and blurred vision as symptoms of PE/E, and a preference for traditional/religious leaders for health care services.

Findings reflect misunderstandings of signs and symptoms of PE/E and a preference for traditional healers as the first contact point for health services:

  • Mothers-in-law and husbands are very influential in health-care-seeking behaviors, which can include a visit to the religious leader, traditional healer, or village doctor. If problems continue, then a woman visits a health center;
  • Convulsions during pregnancy are believed to be the result of the “evil eye”; many believe holy water, herbs, exorcism, and charmed amulets can improve this condition; and
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, lack of transportation, distance from home to facility, and lack of quality care and skilled providers are additional barriers.
  • Country: Bangladesh
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