29, July 2021 |
Authors:Mistry A. R. M. Mehrab Ali Uday Narayan Yadav Saruna Ghimire Md. Belal Hossain Suvasish D. Shuvo Manika Saha Sneha Sarwar Md. M.H. Nirob Varalakshmi C. Sekaran Mark F. Harris
Burgeoning burden of non-communicable disease among older adults is one of the emerg- ing public health problems. In the COVID-19 pandemic, health services in low- and middle- income countries, including Bangladesh, have been disrupted. This may have posed chal- lenges for older adults with non-communicable chronic conditions in accessing essential health care services in the current pandemic. The present study aimed at exploring the chal- lenges experienced by older Bangladeshi adults with non-communicable chronic conditions in receiving regular health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and methods The study followed a cross-sectional design and was conducted among 1032 Bangladeshi older adults aged 60 years and above during October 2020 through telephone interviews. Self-reported information on nine non-communicable chronic conditions (osteoarthritis, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, chronic kidney disease, cancer) was collected. Participants were asked if they faced any difficulties in accessing medicine and receiving routine medical care for their med- ical conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The association between non-communicable chronic conditions and accessing medication and health care was analysed using binary logic regression model. Results Most of the participants aged 60–69 years (77.8%), male (65.5%), married (81.4%), had no formal schooling (58.3%) and resided in rural areas (73.9%). Although more than half of the participants (58.9%) reported having a single condition, nearly one-quarter (22.9%) had multimorbidity. About a quarter of the participants reported difficulties accessing medicine (23%) and receiving routine medical care (27%) during the pandemic, and this was signifi- cantly higher among those suffering from multimorbidity. In the adjusted analyses, partici- pants with at least one condition (AOR: 1.95, 95% CI: 1.33–2.85) and with multimorbidity (AOR: 4.75, 95% CI: 3.17–7.10) had a higher likelihood of experiencing difficulties access- ing medicine. Similarly, participants with at least one condition (AOR: 3.08, 95% CI: 2.11– 4.89) and with multimorbidity (AOR: 6.34, 95% CI: 4.03–9.05) were significantly more likely to face difficulties receiving routine medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions Our study found that a sizeable proportion of the older adults had difficulties in accessing medicine and receiving routine medical care during the pandemic. The study findings high- light the need to develop an appropriate health care delivery pathway and strategies to maintain essential health services during any emergencies and beyond. We also argue the need to prioritise the health of older adults with non-communicable chronic conditions in the centre of any emergency response plan and policies of Bangladesh.
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