Inequalities in health care utilization for common childhood illnesses in Ethiopia: evidence from the 2011 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey

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BimMed Central
International Journal for Equity in Health, 16(1):67
InequalitiesCommon childhood illnessesHealth service utilizationEthiopia
Globally, 5.9 million children under the age of five died in 2015. More than half and almost one-third of those deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, respectively. Diarrhea and Pneumonia, which were the major causes of the problem, accounted for more than two million deaths of the worlds youngest children every year. Like other developing countries, child health services utilization is low in Ethiopia. The aim of this study was to identify the determinant factors for the inequalities in medical treatment seeking behavior for common childhood illnesses in Ethiopia.

Data were obtained from the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) 2011. All children who had diarrhea, cough, and fever in the 2 weeks preceding the survey were included. A total of 1620 children with diarrhea, 2082 with fever, and 2134 with cough were included in the analyses. Multivariate logistic regression with a 95% confidence interval, adjusted odds-ratio, and a P < 0.05 were used to determine the independent effect of each variable.

Household wealth-status, maternal and paternal education, and religion were found to be associated with the inequality in the use of child health services. Respondents from households with the richest, richer, and middle wealth status had higher odds of seeking medical treatment for childhood diarrhea, cough, and fever than that of the poorest ones. Maternal and paternal educational status was also associated with medical treatment seeking behavior for childhood diarrhea and fever, respectively.

Household wealth and educational status of parents were possible determinant factors for the inequalities observed in health care seeking behavior. Policy interventions aimed at improving the appropriate medical treatment seeking behavior for common childhood illnesses are desirable. Practical economic policies aimed at moving those in the lower wealth quintile are essential to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. Studies comprising qualitative and quantitative methods are recommended to further explore other determinants of health care utilization.
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Graduate School of Public Health (보건대학원)Dept. of Public Health (보건학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_보건학과)
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