Patterns on the utilization of oral healthcare for children with HIV/Aids by female caregivers in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Background: Notwithstanding the high prevalence of dental caries and other oral manifestations among children with HIV/AIDS, this population continues to face limited utilization of oral healthcare.
Objective: To determine the patterns of oral healthcare utilization for children with HIV/AIDS by female caregivers in Nairobi City County (NCC), Kenya.
Design: A hospital-based mixed methods cross-sectional study.
Setting: The out-patient HIV-care clinics at Gertrude Children’s hospital (GCH), Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), and Mbagathi County and Referral Hospital (MCRH), in NCC.
Subjects: Two hundred and twenty-one female caregivers of children with HIV/AIDS.
Results: Almost three-quarters (71%) of children with HIV/AIDS attending the HIV-care clinics at the time of the study had never visited the dentist. More than two-thirds (66.3%) of caregivers whose child experienced dental pain and/or or swelling sought treatment from the dental professional, 16.3% of them bought medicine from the chemist whilst 15.2% of caregivers utilized home remedy. However, only 11% of caregivers sought treatment in a timely manner, within 1-2 days of the child’s pain onset. Tooth extraction was the foremost treatment (62%) carried out among the children. Ninety-three percent (93%) of the caregivers did not have a usual source of oral healthcare for their children.
Conclusion: Children with HIV/AIDS in NCC consume oral healthcare very poorly in terms of proportion, rate, and timeliness with which they utilize care. Additionally, the children do not have a usual source of oral healthcare. The most frequently cited constraint to health-seeking for oral healthcare among the respondents is high user-cost of oral health services.