Pan African Medical Journal

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Inpatient healthcare provider bypassing by women and their children in urban Bo, Sierra Leone

Lila Fleming, Rashid Ansumana, Alfred Bockarie, Joel Alejandre, Umaru Bangura, David Henry Jimmy, Nigel Waters, Heibatollah Baghi, David Stenger, Kathryn Jacobsen


Introduction: bypassing refers to a person's decision to seek care at a healthcare facility that is not the nearest one of its type to the person's home. Methods: this study examined inpatient care facility bypassing in urban Bo, Sierra Leone using data from 1,980 women with children 15 years of age and younger who were interviewed in 2010-2011. The locations of residential structures and hospitals were identified using a geographic information system (GIS), and the road distances from participating households to the nearest and preferred inpatient care facilities were measured. Results: nine inpatient care facilities serve Bo residents, but more than 70% of the participating women reported that the city's main public hospital (Bo Government Hospital), located in the city center, was their preferred inpatient care provider. Participants resided within a median distance of 0.9 km (Interquartile range (IQR): 0.6, 1.8) from their closest inpatient facility, but they would travel a median distance of 2.4 km (IQR: 1.0, 3.3) to reach their preferred providers. About 87% of the women would bypass their nearest inpatient care facility to access care at a preferred provider. Bypassing rates were similar for various demographic and socioeconomic groups, but higher for women living farther from the city center. Conclusion: although Bo has a diverse healthcare marketplace, access to affordable advanced care options is limited. Most women in Bo would choose to bypass facilities nearer to their homes to seek the low-cost and comprehensive care offered by Bo Government Hospital.

The Pan African Medical Journal 2016;23
AJOL African Journals Online