A household survey was undertaken in Matlab, a rural area of Bangladesh, to estimate the costs incurred during pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period for women delivering at home and in a health facility. Those interviewed included 121 women who delivered at home, 120 who delivered in an ICDDR,B basic obstetric care (BEOC) facility, 27 who delivered in a public comprehensive obstetric care (CEOC) hospital, and 58 who delivered in private hospitals. There was no significant difference in total costs incurred by those delivering at home and those delivering in a BEOC facility. Costs for those delivering in CEOC facilities were over nine times greater than for those delivering in BEOC facilities. Costs of care during delivery were predominant. Antenatal and postnatal care added between 7% and 30% to the total cost. Services were more equitable at home and in a BEOC facility compared to services provided at CEOC facilities. The study highlights the regressive nature of the financing of CEOC services and the need for a financing strategy that covers both the costs of referral and BEOC care for those in need.This research was funded under the Cooperative Agreement No. 388-A-00-97-00032-00 with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (ICDDR,B Grant No. GR-00089). ICDDR,B acknowledges with gratitude the commitment of USAID to the Centre’s research efforts. Carine Ronsmans and Jo Borghi are funded by the Department for International Development, UK
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