Health-seeking behaviour of women and Men in Githiga Location, Githunguri District, Kenya
Mungai, Jane Nduta
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This study set out to investigate the health status, health-seeking behaviour as well as the factors that influence the behaviour among elderly women and men in Githiga Location, Githunguri District. A total of 53 elderly women and men were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Of those, 49.1% were female and 50.9% were male. Besides the elderly women and men, health workers in Githiga and Gitiha health centres as well as in private clinics and pharmacies were interviewed. The data analysis was done using simple descriptive analysis technique and SPSS software. The study found that education, income, marital status and distance to health facilities affect health-seeking behaviour. The higher the level of education and income, the more the respondents sought health services; whereas the greater the distance, the less the health services were sought. A high percentage of women delayed visit to health facilities citing the many gender roles that required their attention. The study concludes that health-seeking behaviour among women and men is influenced by gender roles and that the determinants of this behaviour, affect women and men differently. It is recommended that the elderly be given priority at health centres to avoid waiting in long queues or be treated in a room reserved only for them. This will not only save them valuable time wasted queueing but also encourage them to visit health facilities as need arises. Health workers should be sensitized on the need to handle the elderly with care as they appeared very sensitive and cited young health workers as disrespectful. Need for organization of free medical camps to bring the services nearer to the elderly as well as sensitizing them on the need to seek regular treatment was apparent. Availability of social amenities like social clubs and recreation for use by the elderly are also recommended. Based on the results, similar studies need to be conducted elsewhere in the country using a larger sample or targeting a different group of society like the youth for comparative purposes.