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Original Research Articles

Sexual Health of Women with Spinal Cord Injury in Bangladesh


Noortje P M Lubbers ,

VU University, Tulpstraat 21 bis, 3581 RJ Utrecht, NL
About Noortje P M
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Reshma Parvin Nuri,

Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed, Savar, Dhaka, BD
About Reshma Parvin
Research Associate
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Wim H van Brakel,

VU University, Amsterdam, NL
About Wim H

Wim van Brakel holds a medical degree from Amsterdam University, an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a PhD in Neuro-epidemiology from Utrecht University. Dr. van Brakel has worked for 17 years in Nepal and India for international NGOs, specializing in leprosy control, prevention of disabilities, rehabilitation and research. He joined the Royal Tropic Institute (KIT), Amsterdam, as Senior Adviser Public Health in 2003. In 2008, he joined the Athena Institute, VU University Amsterdam, in a part-time capacity, teaching and researching in the field of disability and development. His research interests include peripheral neuropathy in leprosy, disability and rehabilitation, social participation, stigma and clinimetrics.

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Huib Cornielje

Alphen aan den Rijn, NL
About Huib

Huib Cornielje is the Director of Enablement, Netherlands. He has been Disability Advisor for the Netherlands Leprosy Relief since 2008. He is also a lecturer in Public Health at the University for Applied Sciences in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Earlier, Mr. Cornielje worked for over 10 years in various rehabilitation programmes in South Africa.

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Purpose: To identify factors influencing the sexual health of women with spinal cord injury (SCI) in Bangladesh.

Methods: This study used both qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative part used a case-control design. Cases were women with SCI and controls were age-matched women without SCI.  Questionnaires were used to collect data concerning the sexual health status of women. Multivariate logistic regression was done to determine which factors had an independent effect on sexual health.  In-depth interviews were held with a sub-group of women from both groups, and interview guides were used. The in-depth interview data was subjected to content analysis.

Results: In total, 92 questionnaires were given out and 30 in-depth interviews were conducted. A relationship was found between physical factors and sexual health, as pain, vaginal dryness and physical discomfort were mentioned more frequently among women with SCI. Environmental and emotional factors such as stigma, satisfaction of the husband and support from the husband and friends had an influence on the sexual health of the women with SCI, as well as the other group of women.

Conclusions: From interviews it became clear that most of the women with SCI were dissatisfied with their sexual health as compared to the women without SCI. However, environmental and emotional factors such as attitudes, support and stigma, rather than physical factors, were the most important influences on sexual health in both groups of women.

How to Cite: Lubbers, N.P.M., Nuri, R.P., van Brakel, W.H. and Cornielje, H., 2012. Sexual Health of Women with Spinal Cord Injury in Bangladesh. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 23(3), pp.6–23. DOI:
Published on 05 Dec 2012.


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