Healthcare seeking behaviour of heads of households in an urban community in south-south Nigeria
Introduction: The health seeking behaviour of individuals in communities contributes to a large extent to their health status including morbidity and mortality patterns. This study assessed the health care seeking behaviour of heads of households in Isiohor community in south-south Nigeria.
Materials/Method: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in 2014 among 382 household heads in Isiohor Community in Edo State, Nigeria using cluster sampling technique. Data collection was by means of a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. IBM SPSS version 20 was used for data analysis.
Results: The respondents comprised 343 (89.8%) males and 39 (10.2%) females with a mean age of 46.5±13.7 years. Almost all 377 (98.7%) of the respondents sought healthcare when ill and of these, 375 (99.5%) used prescribed medications. About three-quarters, 286 (75.9%) and 222 (58.9%) preferred to seek healthcare in hospitals and patent medicine stores. Traditional and spiritual healers were the preferred healthcare providers for 67 (17.8%) and 41 (10.9%) of the respondents respectively. Marital status (p=0.019), level of education (p=0.001), occupational classification (p=0.004) and monthly income (p=0.0001) had a statistically significant difference in association with the practice of seeking healthcare in the hospital (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The healthcare seeking behaviour of heads of households in Isiohor community was good as majority of them sought healthcare in hospitals and from doctors, probably because of the respondents’ level of education and proximity to a tertiary health facility. Patronage of traditional and spiritual healers should be discouraged through behaviour change communication by health educators in the Local Government Area.
Key words: Household heads, Healthcare seeking behaviour.