Health seeking behaviour of small income market vendors: Diabetes primary care in Gulu Municipality, northern Uganda
Introduction: Uganda faces a serious threat of non-communicable diseases including type 2 diabetes; sedentary lifestyles predispose people to these diseases.
Objective: To understand the diabetes health seeking behaviour of market vendors at the main market, Gulu Municipality.
Method: This cross-sectional study used quantitative and qualitative methods to understand experiences of market vendors on health seeking behaviour. After general sensitization and mobilisation in the market, 400 participants were enrolled for the study, however quantitative analysis was done only on data from 375 participants (316 women and 59 men); 25 participants had missing data; 30 of these 375 were interviewed and the qualitative analyses of their responses offered further insight on health seeking – and is reported here. The qualitative data will be reported later.
Results: Mixed responses were obtained from these 30 market vendors about their health seeking behaviour for diabetes. The factors were responsible for their overall health seeking behaviour included crowded hospitals and low frequency of clinic days; lack of accurate knowledge, and uninformed beliefs on diabetes, and poor work-life balance. Major impediments to health seeking were the fear of losing work time and money, and feeling healthy and hence seeing no need for health check-ups or medical care.
Conclusion: Awareness of diabetes and the need to seek health care exists, but market vendors are not well informed on tests and care. We recommend that more comprehensive simple-message sensitisation is undertaken to change health seeking behaviour and prevent escalation of non-communicable diseases in northern Uganda and beyond.
Key words: health seeking behaviour; healthcare services; diabetes; sedentary lifestyle; hypertension; market vendors, Uganda