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Health Seeking Behavior in Northern KwaZulu-Natal

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Author Info

  • Anne Case

    (Princeton University and Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies)

  • Alicia Menendez

    (University of Chicago and Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies)

  • Cally Ardington

    (University of Cape Town and Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies)

Abstract

We examine patterns of health seeking behavior prior to death among 1282 individuals who lived in the Umkhanyakude District of Northern KwaZulu-Natal. Information on the health care choices of these individuals, who died between January 2003 and July 2004, was gathered after their deaths from their primary care-givers. We examine choices made concerning public and private medicine, western and traditional medicine, and non-prescribed self-medication. We find that virtually all adults who were ill prior to death sought treatment from a Western medical provider, visiting either a public clinic or a private doctor. In this district, which is predominantly poor, ninety percent of adults who sought treatment from a public clinic also visited a private doctor. Fifty percent also sought treatment from a traditional healer, suggesting that traditional medicine is seen as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, Western care. Better educated people who were ill for less than a month before dying were significantly more likely to visit a private doctor, while those least well educated were more likely to visit a traditional healer. Controlling for length of illness, better educated and wealthier people sought care from a greater range of providers, and spent significantly more on their treatment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 165.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
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Handle: RePEc:pri:rpdevs:case_etal_hsb

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Keywords: Health seeking behavior; demographic surveillance; South Africa;

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References

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  1. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 5572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Martin Wittenberg, 2005. "The school day in South Africa," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 113, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  3. Ahmed, Syed Masud & Adams, Alayne M. & Chowdhury, Mushtaque & Bhuiya, Abbas, 2000. "Gender, socioeconomic development and health-seeking behaviour in Bangladesh," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 361-371, August.
  4. Baume, Carol & Helitzer, Deborah & Kachur, S. Patrick, 2000. "Patterns of care for childhood malaria in Zambia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(10), pages 1491-1503, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Andreea Balan-Cohen, 2008. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? The Impact of the Old Age Assistance Program on Elderly Mortality in the United States," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0719, Department of Economics, Tufts University.

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