Patterns of Care-Seeking and Home-Care Practices among Mothers with Sick Children in Northern Nigeria: Potential Areas of Influence for Community Health Workers

Omolara T. Uwemedimo, Columbia University
Sally E. Findley, Columbia University
Henry V. Doctor, Columbia University and PRRINN-MNCH
Godwin Afenyadu, PRRINN-MNCH

Prior to implementing a community health worker (CHW) pilot program aimed at reducing the high level of child mortality in northern Nigeria, we conducted a baseline survey of 1549 women with children < 5 to identify their child healthcare practices. Over half (55%) did not know what to do when their child became sick. Only 56% sought any care for the child’s most recent sickness, and only 28% from a skilled professional. Impoverished caregivers were most likely to seek treatment from untrained sources, such as older women or traditional birth attendant (TBAs). Fewer than 21% used any of the IMCI-recommended treatments for their child’s sickness. The most impoverished were the least likely to use recommended practices and more likely to use local healers and non-recommended treatments. CHWs may improve caregiver practices by targeting the poor and disseminating recommendations through socially influential groups such as older women, TBAs and drug vendors.

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Presented in Poster Session 3