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Care seeking behaviour for childhood illness--a questionnaire survey in western Nepal.

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1
Department of Community Medicine, Manipal College of Medical Sciences, PO Box: 155, Pokhara, Nepal. chandrashekharats@yahoo.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The World Health Organization estimates that seeking prompt and appropriate care could reduce child deaths due to acute respiratory infections by 20%. The purpose of our study was to assess care seeking behaviour of the mothers during childhood illness and to determine the predictors of mother's care seeking behaviour.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional survey was conducted in the immunization clinics of Pokhara city, Kaski district, western Nepal. A trained health worker interviewed the mothers of children suffering from illness during the preceding 15 days.

RESULTS:

A total of 292 mothers were interviewed. Pharmacies (46.2%) were the most common facilities where care was sought followed by allopathic medical practitioners (26.4%). No care was sought for 8 (2.7%) children and 26 (8.9%) children received traditional/home remedies. 'Appropriate', 'prompt' and 'appropriate and prompt' care was sought by 77 (26.4%), 166 (56.8%) and 33 (11.3%) mothers respectively. The mothers were aware of fever (51%), child becoming sicker (45.2%) and drinking poorly (42.5%) as the danger signs of childhood illness. By multiple logistic regression analysis total family income, number of symptoms, mothers' education and perceived severity of illness were the predictors of care seeking behaviour.

CONCLUSION:

The results of the present study show that the mothers were more likely to seek care when they perceived the illness as 'serious'. Poor maternal knowledge of danger signs of childhood illness warrants the need for a complementary introduction of community-based Integrated Management of Childhood Illness programmes to improve family's care seeking behaviour and their ability to recognize danger signs of childhood illness. Socioeconomic development of the urban poor may overcome their financial constraints to seek 'appropriate' and 'prompt' care during the childhood illness.

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