Social capital and self-rated health: experiences from Makete district, Tanzania

  • Gasto Frumence SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SOCIAL SCIENCES MUHIMBILI UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH AND ALLIED SCIENCES
  • Tumaini M. Nyamhanga SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SOCIAL SCIENCES MUHIMBILI UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH AND ALLIED SCIENCES
Keywords: Keywords, Social capital, self-rated health, Tanzania

Abstract

Background: It is almost two decades since various research works started documenting the debate surrounding the role of social capital on individual health outcomes in different contexts. However, in Tanzania there is a dearth of empirical evidence showing how social capital influences health outcomes. The objective of this study was to investigate the links between individual social capital and self-rated health by selected socio-demographic factors.

Methods: We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study in Makete district in the south-western Tanzania. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data using face to face interviews with the study participants. We collected information on individual structural social capita, which include memberships in organizations, giving social support, receiving social support and participation in voluntary activities. We also collected information on individual cognitive social capital including visiting neighbour, trusting neighbour, interaction with neighbour and ability to influence in decisions.

Results: A total of 862 individuals from four villages participated in the study with the mean age of 31.3 years. Factor analysis (using principal components analysis) with varimax determined four domains of structural social capital: participation in collective activities, giving social support, membership in formal and informal organizations and receiving social support (factor loadings: 0.65 to 0.55). Four domains of cognitive social capital were also identified: visiting a sick neighbour, trusting a neighbour, and interacting with neighbour and ability to influence decisions (Factors loadings: 0.78 to 0.52). The multivariable logistic regression analysis shows that individuals with access to medium and high levels of structural social capital were almost 2 and 3 times more likely to report good health than individuals with low social capital [OR 2.3 (CI: 1.6-3.4)] and [OR 3.4 (CI: 2.3-5.1)], respectively.

Conclusion: Our study findings support the argument that high level of structural social capital has positive health outcomes in rural Tanzania’ setting. Therefore, village leaders in particular and community members in general should promote social capital in their communities as one of the health interventions towards improving individual health.

 

Author Biographies

Gasto Frumence, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SOCIAL SCIENCES MUHIMBILI UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH AND ALLIED SCIENCES

Dr. Gasto Frumence is Lecturer in the department of development Studies for the past fourteen years. He is currently the coordinator for the MPH programs in the school of Public Health and Social Sciences and a member of editorial board of Tanzania Journal of Development Studies. He has a wide experience in teaching and research in Management and Leadership in Health, Social Capital and HIV/AIDS and Health, Health Systems, Governance in health, Decentralisation of Health Services, Community participation in health Planning, Public Private partnership in Health, and Health sector and Local government reforms. His work has been published in local and international peer review journals. 

Tumaini M. Nyamhanga, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SOCIAL SCIENCES MUHIMBILI UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH AND ALLIED SCIENCES

Dr. Tumaini Nyamhanga is a Lecturer in the department for the past fifteen years. His research focus has been on the social context of health and health care. Specifically his areas of interest include: Gender & HIV/AIDS; Gender & Reproductive Health; Population & Health; Globalization & Health, in which he has over fifteen years of research experience.

Published
2017-07-27
How to Cite
FrumenceG., & NyamhangaT. M. (2017). Social capital and self-rated health: experiences from Makete district, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, 19(3). https://doi.org/10.4314/thrb.v19i3.
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1821-9241
print ISSN: 1821-6404