Arsenic concentrations of tubewell water that exceed acceptable limits poses a serious health problem in Bangladesh. Many Bangladeshis are now suffering from arsenic-related diseases. The objectives of this paper are to examine the extent of delay in seeking medical treatment by victims of arsenic poisoning and to identify factors contributing to this delay. Questionnaire survey successfully administered to 663 victims living in two rural areas of Bangladesh provided the major data source for this study. Analysis of survey data reveal that median delay period was 12 months, but the delay period ranged from 1 month to 18 years. Because of this extremely large range, the mean delay period was about 22 months. The study identified time of identification of symptoms of arsenicosis as the most significant determinant of treatment delay followed by treatment sought from members of mobile medical teams, perceived threat, and level of education. Based on the study findings, it is recommended that the Bangladesh government and NGOs involved in arsenic mitigation and prevention efforts should educate individuals at risk for arsenic poisoning about the benefits of seeking early treatment. This study also recommends to continue to dispatch mobile medical teams to the arsenic-impacted areas. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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