PloS one 2017 04 1312(4) e0175446 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0175446
Fever in malaria endemic areas, has been shown to strongly predict malaria infection and is a key symptom influencing malaria treatment. WHO recommended confirmation testing for Plasmodium spp. before initiation of antimalarials due to increased evidence of the decrease of morbidity and mortality from malaria, decreased malaria associated fever, and increased evidence of high prevalence of non-malaria fever. To immediately diagnose and promptly offer appropriate management, caretakers of children with fever should seek care where these services can be offered; in health facilities.
This study was conducted to describe healthcare seeking behaviors among caretakers of febrile under five years, in Tanzania. And to determine children’s, household and community-level factors associated with parents’ healthcare seeking behavior in health facilities.
Secondary data analysis was done using the Tanzania HIV and Malaria Indicator Surveys (THMIS) 2011-2012. Three-level mixed effects logistic regression was used to assess children’s, household and community-level factors associated with appropriate healthcare seeking behavior among care takers of febrile children as well as differentiating between household and community variabilities.
Of the 8573 children under the age of five years surveyed, 1,675(19.5%) had a history of fever two weeks preceding the survey. Of these, 951 (56.8%) sought appropriate healthcare. Febrile children aged less than a year have 2.7 times higher odds of being taken to the health facilities compared to children with two or more years of age. (OR: 2.7; 95%CI: 1.50-4.88). Febrile children from households headed by female caretakers have almost three times higher odds of being taken to the health facilities (OR: 2.85; 95%CI; 1.41-5.74) compared to households headed by men. Febrile children with caretakers exposed to mass media (radio, television and newspaper) have more than two times higher odds of being taken to health facilities compared to those not exposed to mass media. Febrile children from regions with malaria prevalence above national level have 41% less odds of being taken to health facilities (OR: 0.49; 95%CI: 0.29-0.84) compared to those febrile children coming from areas with malaria prevalence below the national level. Furthermore, febrile children coming from areas with higher community education levels have 57% (OR: 1.57; 95%CI: 1.14-2.15) higher odds of being taken to health facilities compared to their counterparts coming from areas with low levels of community education.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
To effectively and appropriately manage and control febrile illnesses, the low proportion of febrile children taken to health facilities by their caretakers should be addressed through frequent advocacy of the importance of appropriate healthcare seeking behavior, using mass media particularly in areas with high malaria prevalence. Multifaceted approach needs to be used in malaria control and eradication as multiple factors are associated with appropriate healthcare seeking behavior.