South African Journal of Child Health

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An analysis of national data on care-seeking behaviour by parents of children with suspected pneumonia in Nigeria

M B Abdulkadir, Z A Abdulkadir, W B R Johnson


Background. Pneumonia is responsible for 940 000 under-5 deaths annually. Most of these deaths result from delays in instituting effective treatment.
Objectives. To determine care-seeking behaviour by parents of children with pneumonia and sociodemographic factors that influence decisions to seek appropriate care.
Methods. The study was an analysis of the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2013, which was a nationwide cross-sectional survey using a stratified cluster design of 40 680 households. All children under-5 living in the surveyed households with suspected pneumonia in the preceding 2 weeks were recruited along with their mothers. Sociodemographic characteristics of the parents and where they sought care for their child were obtained. Binomial logistic regression analysis was used to determine the contribution of various sociodemographic variables to the decision on seeking appropriate medical care.
Results. Of the 28 950 children surveyed, 565 had suspected pneumonia, which equates to an occurrence rate of 19.5 per 1 000 children. About 36% of parents were judged to have sought appropriate care when their children had pneumonia. High paternal education, health decision-making by both husband and wife, and belonging to the higher quintiles on a wealth index were factors that positively influenced care-seeking behaviour.
Conclusion. Care-seeking behaviour for pneumonia is poor. Paternal education and joint decision-making are key determinants of parents seeking appropriate care for their children with suspected pneumonia in Nigeria.
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