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Int Health. 2012 Dec;4(4):289-94. doi: 10.1016/j.inhe.2012.09.001.

Pre-hospital care seeking behaviour for childhood acute respiratory infections in south-western Nigeria.

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Comprehensive Health Centre, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta, Ogun state, Nigeria.


WHO/UNICEF currently recommend that childhood malaria and pneumonia be managed together in the community; most African countries are in the process of developing this policy. We conducted a cross-sectional study to determine maternal awareness of general danger signs of childhood illnesses and the prevalence, determinants and sources of pre-hospital treatment by mothers during their child's acute respiratory illness in a poor urban community in south-western Nigeria. A total of 226 mothers were interviewed. Only 4.9% of the mothers were aware of the two pneumonia symptoms: difficult breathing and fast breathing. About 75% of the children were given pre-hospital medication at home and only 16.5% of them received the drugs within 24 hour of symptom recognition. Drug shops/patent medicine vendors (PMVs; 70.6%) were the most common source of care. Wishing to try home management first (46.6%); waiting for the child to improve (14.4%) and lack of money (31.6%) delayed care-seeking. Older maternal age (aOR 2.3; 95% CI 1.2-4.4) and having a child with cough and difficult and/or fast breathing (aOR 2.3; 95% CI 1.1-5.2) were positive predictors of pre-hospital treatment. Maternal education and adequately equipping PMVs could improve prompt access to integrated community-based child health services in Nigeria.


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