Community and caregivers’ perceptions of pneumonia and care-seeking experiences in Nigeria: A qualitative study

the INSPIRING Project Consortium

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Background: Appropriate and timely care seeking can reduce pneumonia deaths, but are influenced by caregivers and community norms of health and illness. We explore caregiver and community perceptions, and care-seeking experience, of childhood pneumonia, to understand contexts that drive pediatric service uptake in Nigeria. Methods: Community group discussions and qualitative interviews with caregivers in Lagos and Jigawa states were completed between 1 November 2018 and 31 May 2019. Participants were recruited from purposively sampled health facility catchment areas with assistance from facility staff. We used episodic interviews, asking caregivers (Jigawa = 20; Lagos = 15) to recount specific events linked to quests for therapy. Community group discussions (n = 3) used four vignettes from real pneumonia cases to frame a discussion around community priorities for healthcare and community-led activities to improve child survival. Data were analyzed using the framework method. Results: We found poor knowledge of pneumonia-specific symptoms and risk factors among caregivers and community members, with many attributing pneumonia to cold air exposure. Interviews highlighted that care-seeking decision making involved both husbands and wives, but men often made final decisions. In Lagos, older female relatives also shaped quests for therapy. Cost was a major consideration. In both states, there were accounts of dissatisfaction with health workers’ attitudes and a general acceptance of vaccination services. Conclusion: There is a need for community-based approaches to improve caregiver knowledge and care seeking for under-five children with pneumonia. Messaging should attend to knowledge of symptoms, risk factors, family dynamics, and community responsibilities in healthcare service delivery and utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S104-S112
JournalPediatric pulmonology
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Nigeria
  • caregivers
  • community
  • pediatric
  • pneumonia
  • quests for therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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