Childhood illnesses and heath-seeking process among under-fives presenting in primary healthcare facilities in Uyo, Nigeria


  • Motilewa O. O. Department of Community Health, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
  • Ekuma A. E.
  • Markson E. F.
  • Akpan M. A.
  • Usanga A. E.
  • Nwaeke C. F.
  • Otuo T. O.


Symptoms, Under-fives, health-seeking, care-givers


Background: Childhood infections are a significant cause of under-five morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. These infections are curable if the care-givers seek appropriate treatment early. The aim of this study was to assess the common symptoms of children 0-59 months (under-fives) presenting at PHC facilities and the health seeking process of their caregivers in Uyo, Nigeria.
Methods: This was a cross sectional study of under-fives attending selected health facilities in Uyo. One health facility was selected using simple random techniques from each of the five clans that constitute Uyo. The children were recruited consecutively across the selected health facilities. A pre-tested structured questionnaire was administered to the care-givers and weighing scale used to determine the weight of the children. Data were analysed using STATA version 12.
Results: A total of 178 children were recruited for the study. Fifty-three percent of the children were male with median age of 13 months. The main symptoms at presentations were fever (69.7%), cough (29.8) diarrhoea (23%) and skin rash (23%) and 25.3% of them were under-nourished. About 63% of the children presented to the health facility after 2 days of onset of symptoms, 58% of them have already taken medications like antipyretics, antimalarial or antibiotics before presentation. Care-givers who were above 30 years and have more than secondary level of education were more likely to present within 2 days of onset of symptoms.
Conclusion: Intensive community sensitization of care-givers on the need to seek appropriate treatment at the health facility is required, while ensuring resources are made available for prompt management of these symptoms at the PHCs.

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