Pathway to care: First points of contact and sources of referral among children and adolescent patients seen at neuropsychiatric hospital in south-eastern Nigeria
AbstractOBJECTIVE: Child and adolescents mental health services are at infancy stage of development in most Sub-Saharan African region. Little is known about help seeking behaviour for childhood neuropsychiatric disorders in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study was aimed at assessing first points of contact during help seeking and eventual sources of referral for a group of patients seen in a neuropsychiatric facility in south-eastern Nigeria.
METHODS:At the point of presentation, information were obtained on where help was first sought before presenting at the hospital with the major aim of identifying other competing services. Other information obtained in addition to socio-demographic variables included information on source of referral or the source that initiated help seeking from Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, South-eastern Nigeria.
RESULTS: Neuropsychiatric hospital, prayer houses/faith healing centres, other hospitals, traditional healers, patent medicine stores, roadside medical laboratories and specialized school were various first points of contact noted. Relatives, family and friends, other hospitals, prayer houses and specialized school constituted sources of referral.
CONCLUSIONS: The need to incorporate all these sources with the aim of improving accessibility of neuropsychiatric services for children and adolescents in this environment is paramount.
KEY WORDS: Help Seeking, Behaviour, Childhood, Psychiatry, Disorders