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Family and Social Determinants of Health-seeking Behaviour of Caregivers of Febrile Children in an Urban City of South-Eastern Nigeria

Obi-Nwosu Amaka Lovelyn, Nwosu Obi Betrand, Nnaji Godswill

Context: The highest rates of child mortality are still in sub-Saharan Africa. The leading causes of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa are infectious diseases of which fever is a common feature of. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of fever is necessary if mortality of children under the age of five years is to be substantially reduced in this part of the world.

Aim: To determine the family and social factors associated with the health seeking behaviour of mothers of febrile children.

Subjects and methods: This was a hospital based cross-sectional study involving mothers/caregivers. Relevant data on socioeconomic and family characteristics were obtained using pre-tested, interviewer-administered questionnaires.

Statistical analysis used: The data was coded and analyzed using SPSS version 16.0. The results were expressed as rates and proportions. Fisher’s exact test was computed and association considered significant if P value is equal to or less than 0.05.

Results: A total of 400 mothers/caregivers were finally studied. 51.5% of the caregivers were aged between 30 and 39 years. Majority (91.5%) of them had at least secondary education. Three hundred and thirteen (78.3%) mothers gave drugs as initial action while only 8 (2%) took their children to a health facility to access care. One hundred and ninety eight (49.6%) mothers sought appropriate care while 121 (30.2%) mothers sought care promptly.

Conclusions: The major factors determining the health-seeking behaviour of caregivers of febrile children are age of the child, educational and occupational status of the caregivers, household heads as well as income.