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Health-seeking behaviour for child illness in Guatemala

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Relying on data from the 1995 Guatemalan Survey of Family Health (EGSF), we analyse the relationship between child illness and health-seeking behaviour. Information on illness was collected for 3193 children. This analysis is based on 870 of these who became ill with diarrhoeal or respiratory disease during a 13-day period prior to interview. Estimates are derived from logistic models of the probability of seeing any or a specific type of health care provider as a function of characteristics of the illness on a given day and the child. The results indicate that modern medical care plays a major role in the treatment of infectious illness among children in rural Guatemala, with visits to pharmacists, doctors and the staff at government health facilities occurring much more frequently than visits to curers and other traditional practitioners. In general, families are much more likely to seek out a health care provider when a child experiences fever and gastrointestinal symptoms than when suffering from respiratory and other symptoms, and when a mother perceives the illness to be serious. The results also indicate that infants, low parity children, and children assessed as having generally been in good health are more likely to visit health care providers than other children. However, the particular associations often vary by type of health care provider.
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Keywords: ARI; Guatemala; diarrhoea; health care behaviour

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Princeton, USA 2: Population Research Center, NORC & The University of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Publication date: 2000-02-01

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