Pathways of care-seeking during fatal infant illnesses in under-resourced South African settings

Alyssa B. Sharkey, Mickey Chopra, Debra Jackson, Peter J. Winch, Cynthia S. Minkovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine care-seeking during fatal infant illnesses in under-resourced South African settings to inform potential strategies for reducing infant mortality. We interviewed 22 caregivers of deceased infants in a rural community and 28 in an urban township. We also interviewed seven local leaders and 12 health providers to ascertain opinions about factors contributing to infant death.Despite the availability of free public health services in these settings, many caregivers utilized multiple sources of care including allopathic, indigenous and home treatments. Urban caregivers reported up to eight points of care while rural caregivers reported up to four points of care. The specific pathways taken and combinations of care varied, but many caregivers used other types of care shortly after presenting at public services, indicating dissatisfaction with the care they received. Many infants died despite caregivers' considerable efforts, pointing to critical deficiencies in the system of care serving these families. Initiatives that aim to improve assessment, management and referral practices by both allopathic and traditional providers (for example, through training and improved collaboration), and caregiver recognition of infant danger signs may reduce the high rate of infant death in these settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-116
Number of pages7
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume106
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Keywords

  • Health care seeking behaviour
  • Infant mortality
  • Qualitative research
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pathways of care-seeking during fatal infant illnesses in under-resourced South African settings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this