SOCIO-DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS AND HEALTH-SEEKING BEHAVIOUR FOR MALARIA TREATMENT AMONG CAREGIVERS OF UNDER-FIVE CHILDREN WITH FEVER IN IMO STATE, NIGERIA
Background: Nigeria is among the countries with the highest global burden of malaria. This study attempted to identify health-seeking behavior of caregivers for children under-five years. Appropriate health-seeking behavior is important when seeking treatment for children under-five years with fever. Having appropriate health-seeking behavior will help the children to have better prognosis of malaria, because treatment will be initiated early, delay in seeking treatment might lead to bad prognosis on the children and they might die due to malaria.
Materials and Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in Imo State, Nigeria. Multistage random sampling was employed, first stage, four local governments out of 27 local governments was selected at random, and in the second stage number of houses was selected at random. Appropriate health seeking behaviour was operationally defined as seeking treatment from health facility and within 24 hours of onset of fever.
Result: Among the 553 children of the caregivers recruited in the study, there were 55.9% males and 44.1% females. There were 51.9% children less than 27 months old and 48.1% were more than 27 months old. The caregivers’ age ranged from 15 to 64 years. Majority of the caregivers were mothers of the children 93.3% and 86.8% were married. A total of 69.1% attended secondary school level, 60.8% were working and 40.3% of the caregivers earn 19,000 – 40,000 naira per month. A total of 57.3% of the respondents had more than four family members in their households. The majority were Igbo 96.7% and a total of 96.9% of the respondents live in the village. Among the 553 respondents, 103 (18.6%) of the caregivers sought appropriate treatment. In this study, factors that are significantly associated with appropriate health-seeking behavior are gender of the child p= <0.001, age of the child p= <0.001, age of caregiver p= 0.001, relationship to child p= 0.032, occupation p= 0.001, monthly income p= <0.001, number of household size p= <0.001, and ethnicity p= 0.004
Conclusion: Caregivers’ health-seeking behaviour was poor for fever cases among under-five children. It is necessary to educate caregivers, especially for early treatment and appropriate use of health facilities for fever. This finding can help promote awareness and improve interventions in communities.Keywords: Health-seeking, malaria, caregivers, under-five children, Imo-State.