Determinants of delay in care-seeking for febrile children in eastern Uganda

Elizeus Rutebemberwa, Karin Kallander, Goran Tomson, Stefan Peterson, George Pariyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore factors associated with delay in seeking treatment outside the home for febrile children under five. Methods: Using a pre-tested structured questionnaire, all 9176 children below 5 years in Iganga-Mayuge Demographic Surveillance Site were enumerated. Caretakers of children who had been ill within the previous 2 weeks were asked about presenting symptoms, type of home treatment used, timing of seeking treatment and distance to provider. Children who sought care latest after one night were compared with those who sought care later. Results: Those likely to delay came from the lowest socio-economic quintile (OR 1.45; 95% CI 1.06-1.97) or had presented with pallor (OR 1.58; 95% CI 1.10-2.25). Children less likely to delay had gone to drug shops (OR 0.70; 95% CI 0.59-0.84) or community medicine distributors (CMDs) (OR 0.33; 95% CI 0.15-0.74), had presented with fast breathing (OR 0.75; 95% CI 0.60-0.87), used tepid sponging at home (OR 0.43; 95% CI 0.27-0.68), or perceived the distance to the provider to be short (OR 0.72; 95% CI 0.60-0.87). Conclusion: Even in the presence of 'free services', poverty is associated with delay to seek care. Drug shops and CMDs may complement government efforts to deliver timely treatment. Health workers need to sensitize caretakers to take children for care promptly. Methods: to elucidate time in population-surveys in African settings need to be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-479
Number of pages8
JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Child
  • Fever
  • Health care seeking behaviour
  • Uganda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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