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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2013 Jul;89(1 Suppl):21-8. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.12-0753. Epub 2013 Apr 29.

Seeking care for pediatric diarrheal illness from traditional healers in Bamako, Mali.

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1
Department of Medicine, Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA. tfarag@medicine.umaryland.edu

Abstract

Diarrhea is a leading cause of child mortality worldwide. Early recognition of symptoms and referral to medical treatment are essential. In 2007, we conducted a Healthcare Utilization and Attitudes Survey (HUAS) of 1,000 children randomly selected from a population census to define care-seeking patterns for diarrheal disease in Bamako, Mali, in preparation for the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS). We found that 57% of caretakers sought care for their child's diarrheal illness from traditional healers, and 27% of caretakers sought care from the government health center (GHC). Weighted logistic regression showed that seeking care from a traditional healer was associated with more severe reported diarrheal disease, like decreased urination (odds ratio [OR] = 3.35, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 1.19-9.41) and mucus or pus in stool (OR = 4.42, 95% CI = 1.35-14.51), along with other indicators of perceived susceptibility. A locally designed traditional healer referral system was, therefore, created that emphasized more severe disease. This system may serve as a model for health systems in West Africa.

PMID:
23629935
PMCID:
PMC3748497
DOI:
10.4269/ajtmh.12-0753
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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