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Mothers perceived cause and health seeking behaviour of childhood measles in Bayelsa, Nigeria

Abstract

Victor O. Adika, Sambo Baralate, Jimmy J Agada and Nzewi Nneoma

The need for intensive health education activities to mothers about childhood measles is a priority assignment in Africa as childhood measles is a common cause of a serious vaccine preventable disease. This is why the numerous health providing bodies and groups focus on the appropriateness of seeking health care at health facilities. This study assessed mothers’ perceived cause and health seeking behaviour when their under five years old children present with measles with a view to determine whether mothers socio-demographics, perceived cause of childhood measles, factors that delays mothers from seeking prompt and appropriate care of measles and how perceived cause of childhood measles all affect health seeking behaviour. Mothers who have visited Amassoma general hospital and had their children treated at least once for measles were assessed using a descriptive survey design employing convenience sampling technique for selecting the sampling frame of 100 respondents. Data were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The results showed that subjects’ age ranged from 16-40 years with a mean age of 28.55 years. Fifty one percent of the respondents were single parents, 32% were married. Eighty two had formal education. Regarding their occupational state, mothers showed that 51% were students, 27% were housewives and 17% were selfemployed. Seventy three percent of the respondents think measles is caused by too much heat and their sources of information were older women (50%) or self generated (10%). Factors that delayed the mothers from seeking prompt and appropriate care are that mothers do not think lack of immunization is responsible for measles (68%) and that they take their children to older women 65% in addition to lack of finance. Health seeking behaviour of mothers showed that 56% go to herbalist/traditional healer, 25% to a vendor shop and 13% to clinic/hospital with 69% using modern method for treatments. However, 62% described it as an ineffective treatment. It is concluded that mothers perceived cause and health seeking behaviour in childhood measles is far from adequate and hence efforts should be geared towards mothers to put to an end the change in mortality and morbidity rate we observe for this disease.

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