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Health care seeking behavior of urban and rural community in Ahmedabad district

Tejas Shah, Mitesh Patel, Venu Shah.


Background: Designing health care policies and programmes requires knowledge about health care seeking behaviour, so that appropriate interventions can be implemented. Health care seeking behaviour is influenced by the individual self, diseases, and the availability and accessibility of health services. Dependent on these determinants health care seeking behaviour is a complex outcome of many factors operating at various levels.

Aims & Objective: Present study aimed at exploring possible differences in health care seeking behavior in rural and urban Ahmedabad.

Material and Methods: A Cross-sectional study was carried out over a period of one year (April 2011-March 2012) in urban and rural area of Ahmedabad district. Total 500 houses from each were surveyed using pre-designed and pre-tested proforma by house to house visits. Head of the family from each household was interviewed. Information regarding morbidity and health seeking behaviour was collected during household survey.

Results: Maximum number of respondents belonged to age group 25-39 years in urban (49.8%) and rural (53.8%). Rural people preferred government and trust hospitals (51.1%) more as compared to urban (44.1%). Significant difference was observed in place for treatment of acute illness from faith healers. More rural people (29.2%) took treatment from faith healers than urban (22.8%). Majority of rural people (59.6%) took treatment for chronic illness from private practitioner than urban (51.4%). More urban people (57.4%) were using cash savings for treatment than rural people while borrowing and selling assets for treatment was more in rural people (57.4%) The result was statistically significant. Insurance coverage for illness was significantly low both in urban and rural area.

Conclusion: Difference in health seeking behaviour was noticed among urban and rural communities. As far as treatment of chronic illnesses is concerned more infrastructure investments should be made to improve accessibility to government health care facilities, especially in rural areas. There is a need to make the rural people more aware regarding availability of various health insurance schemes.

Key words: Health care seeking behavior, Urban Community, Rural Community

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