Treatment seeking behaviour after the onset fever among under-five children in Dodoma region, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
Fever is a major indicator of malaria and one of the frequently reported causes of under-five children caretakers’ visits to health care facilities. Timely recognition and management of malaria with an effective drug is an essential element of control of the disease. In Tanzania, despite improvement in access to health care services, still many people seek care when it is too late or not at all. This study examined caretakers’ responses to an episode of fever among under-five children in Dodoma region. Data on treatment seeking behaviour of caretakers of 1390 under-five children from 1027 households were collected using a structured questionnaire. Multilevel modelling and duration analysis approaches were employed. The findings show that 329 (23.7 percent) of the total children in the study had fever within the previous four weeks preceding the date of the survey. Of these, 74.8 percent were perceived by their caretakers to have some chances for harmful effects of fever to occur. Secondary education and above of caretakers was associated with decreased beliefs about the occurrence of harmful effects of fever. Meanwhile, 54 percent of the 287 children with fever whose caretakers sought treatment received medical care late. Major factors associated with delayed medical care seeking include number of under-five children in the household, relationship of child to head of household, place of residence, and distance to health facility. Study findings suggest that programmes to improve family planning and access to health facilities are required for better healthcare and development of children. This includes empowering caretakers with the ability to deal with febrile illnesses and ensuring constant supply of essential drugs especially in lower-level public health facilities.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF RJI03.T34K37)
Child health services, Malaria prevention, Children, Economic aspects, Dodoma region, Tanzania
Kassile, T. (2015) Treatment seeking behaviour after the onset fever among under-five children in Dodoma region, Tanzania, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam