Women’s health status before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in rural Bangladesh: A prospective longitudinal study

Kimiyo Kikuchi, Rafiqul Islam, Mariko Nishikitani, Yoko Sato, Rieko Izukura, Fumihiko Yokota, Nusrat Jahan Khan, Meherun Nessa, Ashir Ahmed, Seiichi Morokuma, Naoki Nakashima

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The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has widely spread worldwide since 2020. Several countries have imposed lockdown or stay-at-home policies to prevent the infection. Bangladesh experienced a lockdown from March 2020 to May 2020, and internal travel was restricted. Such long and strict confinement may impact women’s health. Herein, we aimed to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s health by comparing their health status before and during the pandemic. We conducted a prospective longitudinal study in two zones in the Chhaygaon union, rural district Shariatpur, Bangladesh. The study population comprised non-pregnant women aged 15–49 years. We visited the household of all eligible women and invited them for health checkups. The survey staff examined their health status at the checkup camps and conducted questionnaire interviews. In total, 121 non-pregnant women received health checkups both from June 2019 to July 2019 and in October 2020, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, respectively. Compared with those during the 2019 health checkup, the medians of body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure were significantly higher (22.7 kg/m2 to 23.6 kg/m2; 110.0 mmHg to 111.0 mmHg; and 73.0 mmHg to 75.0 mmHg, respectively, p<0.05) during the 2020 health checkup. In contrast, urine glucose levels were significantly lower (10.1% to 3.4%, p = 0.021). The lack of physical activity and other inconvenience accumulation caused by the prolonged confinement might have affected their health status. This necessitates local health workers to promote physical activity to prevent health deterioration during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0266141
JournalPloS one
Issue number5 May
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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