Assessment of Health Care Seeking Behavior at Household Level in Sodo Zuria Wereda, SNNPR, Southern Ethiopia

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Addis Abeba Universty


Background: The processes involved in making decision to seek medical care are not fully understood, and many researchers claim that availability and accessibility of health services are the main factors affecting health care seeking behavior of individuals. Objectives: To assess the health seeking behavior of household members, identify the role of local healers in health care service provision, and describe the process of decision making to seek health care. Methods: A community- based, cross- sectional study, was conducted in January 2005 using quantitative and qualitative dada collection methods. The study was carried out in Sodo Zuria Wereda, of Wolaita Zone in Southern Nations and nationalities people region(SNNPR), south Ethiopia. Stratified random sampling technique was employed to select households from rural and urban area. Key informants were selected for in-depth interview using the ‘snow ball’ technique for the qualitative part of the study. The quantitative part used structured and pretested questionnaires to collect data by interviewing the head of households. Households were inquired about illness with regard to the members of the households in the preceding four weeks, for utilization of health care services and perception about local healers. Result: A total of 844 households were visited, of which 233 (27.6 %) were from urban and 611 (72.4%) were from rural areas. Perceived report of symptoms and utilization of health service to illness was conducted in a sample of 824 households consisting of 5114 household members. The prevalence of illness was 9.7% during a recall period of four weeks preceding the interview. Sickness was associated with a family size above six. About 80.1% of those who reported illness viii had visited modern health care services. Of these 49.4% visited private health care providers and 48.6% visited public health facilities. Among sick individuals 47% sought health care within 1-3 days. Of the sick individuals 22.3% got injection, most of which was provided by health centers (35.6%) and clinics (32.7%). About 20% of the sick individuals did not visit any health services, mainly due to shortage of money. There is low level of visit to traditional healers by sick individuals. 44.6% of doctors and 24.7% of nurses provided health care for sick individuals who visited the health care services. Conclusion: There is a favorable health seeking behavior in the study area, with the majority of sick individuals visiting modern health care providers within a few days of illness. There is high number of injection provision at lower level of health care unit. Recommendation: design the family consultation system ought to be employed as health promotion and preventive actions, develop a system of health care provision for those who are not able to get health care, the existing private health care unit utilization should be promoted with due consideration of quality control system, and further exploration is needed for excess injection provision in lower level of health institutions. Key words: illness, sickness, traditional medicine, household, Kebele.



illness, sickness, traditional medicine, household, Kebele.