Determination of health-care seeking behaviour for upper respiratory tract infections in late childhood in Nakuru district, Kenya
Wanyanga, Catherine Wangui
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Health care seeking behaviour in late childhood has not received adequate policy and empirical attention in Kenya. This study, analyzed the key factors that influence health-care seeking behaviour of heads of households/' caretakers of children aged between 6-12 years with upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) in Engashura farm, Nakuru District. A model that integrates social capital and cognitive representation of illness as determinants of healthcare seeking behaviour was used as- a theoretical framework. A cross-sectional descriptive research design was adopted. A pre-tested, structured questionnaire was used to collect data. Data was collected using interviews with the respondents at the study site. Collected data was summarized using frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviation, and presented using graphs, figures and tables. The relationships between social capital and cognition were tested using correlation analyses. The interactive effects of social capital and cognition in determining predictors of healthcare seeking were tested using a logistic regression. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 13.0. Respondents had an average age of 33.9 years (SD =10.54 years). Descriptive results show that 70 percent of the respondents were of low socio-economic class and low educational attainment with high incidences of unemployment (43 percent). Forty nine percent of the respondents said their children had contracted URTIs in the two weeks prior to taking this survey. Thirty one percent of the respondents with children having URTIs took their children to hospital as is recommended. Structural social capital was positively associated with timeline (r = 0.16), personal control (r = 0.24) and understanding (r = 0.23). Relational social capital was negatively associated with personal control (r = -0.15) but positively with concern (r = 0.16) and emotional response (r = 0.26). Specific trust was significantly associated with healthcare seeking behaviour (X2= 6.98, p = 0.03). Respondehts who took their sick children to hospital believed that their neighbours were basically honest when compared to those who had not (t = -1.97, p = 0.05). All the other measures of social capital were not significant. Understanding was the only dimension of cognitive representation of illness that was associated with healthcare seeking behaviour (t = 3.63, p = 0.00). Estimation results using the logit model show that specific trust (OR = 2.48), general trust (OR = 0.15) and understanding (OR=0.64) predict healthcare seeking behaviour. This is an indication that some aspects of social capital and cognitive representation of illness determine healthcare seeking behaviour. It is therefore recommended that Behavioural communication change policies, strategies and programmes should be initiated to change illness perceptions of URTIs and healthcare seeking behaviour of caretakers of children aged between 6 and 12 years who contract URTIs.