‘This stroke was sent…’: Stroke-related illness concepts and attendant health-seeking behaviours of educated Nigerians
Illness concepts affect health-seeking behaviours (HSB) which in turn can determine disease outcomes. Though there is evidence that stroke incidence is increasing even in low and middle income countries, there is no study of stroke-related illness concepts and HSB in Nigerians. Data from 960 educated Nigerians were analysed. Eight hundred and fifty four respondents (431 aged 20-40 years and 423 aged 41 years or older) of the 960 knew what a stroke was, and their data were analysed further. As much as 55% of them however did not know the warning signs of an impending stroke (and only 0.9% of those who claimed to know these signs correctly described any one of them). Twenty one percent of the population (and 36% of those who have had a stroke) believed spiritual events cause strokes; while 10% and 16% of the respondents (and 7% and 20% of those who have had a stroke) believed a prayer house and traditional healing home, respectively, were the best places to manage stroke cases. These data underscore the need to urgently embark on mass education and enlightenment campaigns aimed at correcting these poor stroke-related illness concepts and HSB.
Keywords: health-seeking behaviour, illness concepts, Nigeria, stroke.