An Assessment of Healthcare Seeking Behaviour in Selected Communities in Ghana
Background: Health is said to be among the basic capabilities that gives value to life. Unfortunately access to health services and needs is highly skewed in favor of the rich to the neglect of the poor. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the situation is more alarming when it comes to the rural poor. This study investigated the healthcare seeking behaviour in selected communities in the Sunyani metropolis, Ghana.
Materials and Methods: We adopted probability sampling, specifically the cluster system, where the selected study communities were put into clusters of households.
Results: The findings of this study suggest that most of the community members tend to seek treatment in modern medical systems when they are sick, with only a few seeking traditional spiritualists and self-medication. Most people patronise government hospitals when they fall sick. Majority attended a healthcare facility because of the need for sophisticated diagnosis of underlining medical conditions. Even though almost all respondents are aware of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the associated benefits of the Scheme, a good number had not registered for the Scheme. They indicated delays in re-imbursements, payment of premiums, delays in issuing NHIS cards, not covering all medicine categories and selective treatment for cardholders and non-card holders, as reasons against the NHIS.
Conclusion and Implications: There is need to embrace a holistic approach to health delivery among the rural poor. Thus, the government should pay more attention to preventive rather than curative measures. A number of useful recommendations are provided in this study aimed at improving healthcare behavior among the rural poor.
Originality/Value of Paper: This paper presents a case for the introduction of more flexible procedures for registration with respect to the premium payment of NHIS to encourage rural community members to register.
Keywords: Healthcare, Health Seeking Behaviour, Communities, Health insurance, Ghana