Estimating the effect of COVID-19 on total utilization of health services in Bangladesh

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2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread stay-at-home orders, fears of going to health facilities where COVID-19 patients are treated, economic hardship due to job loss or interruption, and a variety of other changes that pose significant challenges to patient access and use of other health services. It is important to understand whether and how pandemics such as COVID-19 affect the utilization of essential health services so that policy and decision-makers can better plan and adapt programs as needed in the face of pandemics. Using information available through routine health information systems (RHIS), Data for Impact (D4I) conducted a study to examine the effects of COVID-19 on the utilization of health services in Bangladesh. The study sought to examine patterns in use of selected non-COVID-19-related health services, including maternal and child health (MCH), family planning (FP), outpatient visits, and immunizations, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh. D4I researchers used routine data from the pre-pandemic period to develop a model to predict total health service utilization over time, including estimating what the levels of health service utilization would have been in the absence of COVID-19. This brief shares more.