Spuits, stuips and saline drips: health-seeking behaviour for childhood illnesses in urban South Africa

Natalie Spark-du Preez, Loughborough University
Paula Griffiths, Loughborough University
Noel Cameron, Loughborough University

This study highlights important factors influencing choice of health-care provider for Black children under 6 in Johannesburg and Soweto. In-depth interviews with caregivers, providers of traditional and Western health-care and focus groups with caregivers were conducted prior to a utilisation-based survey with 206 Black caregivers from public and private clinics, public hospitals and traditional healers. Differences in caregiver beliefs, family influence, social support, child, illness and caregiver characteristics, enabling factors and provider characteristics at the different health facilities were investigated. Beliefs as determined by religion, background and influence of an older relative are important for deciding whether a child is ever given traditional medicine. Perceived severity is a strong determinant of whether no treatment, home treatment or professional help is sought, and socio-economic status would determine whether this is in the private or public sector. Enabling factors, provider characteristics and subsequent outcome or past experience can easily modify these pathways.

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Presented in Session 146: Children health