Response to childhood fevers among Mbaise parents and caregivers in Imo
This study was carried out to determine the relationship between the sex of a child and response to childhood fever among Mbaise communities in Imo State, Nigeria. The household head and one caregiver of < 5 years children with fever in 1154 households were surveyed using a structured questionnaire, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. In both cases of the male and female children, mothers were often the first to recognize fever in the children, followed by the other caregivers and then the fathers.The response to childhood fever was faster when a male child was sick (P < 0.001). The longer the delay the poorer the outcomes of the first action taken in response to childhood fevers (R2change = 0.011). The boys improved faster after first treatment than the girls (P < 0.001) because more timely and appropriate responses were taken in the case of the boy child than the girl child. More shopping for treatment takes place for the girl child whose case often gets complicated before the appropriate response is given. In both cases of the male and female children, mothers were often the first to recognize fever in the children, followed by the other caregivers and then the fathers. It is thus concluded that the gender is a major factor in response to childhood fevers and it is often faster when the child is male. Programmes should be designed to address the sex difference attitudes in the management of childhood fevers.
Keywords: childhood fever, gender, malaria, treatment seeking, Nigeria
Tanzanian Health Research Bulletin Vol. 8 (2) 2006: pp. 62-69