Health behaviors and care seeking practices for childhood diarrhea and pneumonia in a rural district of Pakistan: A qualitative study

Jai K. Das, Faareha Siddiqui, Zahra Ali Padhani, Maryam Hameed Khan, Sultana Jabeen, Mushtaq Mirani, Shaista Mughal, Shafaq Baloch, Imtiaz Sheikh, Sana Khatoon, Khan Muhammad, Manesh Gangwani, Karim Nathani, Rehana A. Salam, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Diarrhea and pneumonia are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in children under five, and Pakistan is amongst the countries with the highest burden and low rates of related treatment coverage. We conducted a qualitative study as part of the formative phase to inform the design of the Community Mobilization and Community Incentivization (CoMIC) cluster randomized control trial (NCT03594279) in a rural district of Pakistan. We conducted in-dept interviews and focused group discussions with key stakeholders using a semi-structured study guide. Data underwent rigorous thematic analysis and major themes identified included socio-cultural dynamics, community mobilization and incentives, behavioral patterns and care seeking practices for childhood diarrhea and pneumonia, infant and young child feeding practices (IYCF), immunization, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and access to healthcare. This study highlights shortcomings in knowledge, health practices and health systems. There was to a certain extent awareness of the importance of hygiene, immunization, nutrition, and care-seeking, but the practices were poor due to various reasons. Poverty and lifestyle were considered prime factors for poor health behaviors, while health system inefficiencies added to these as rural facilities lack equipment and supplies, resources, and funding. The community identified that intensive inclusive community engagement and demand creation strategies tied to conditioned short term tangible incentives could help foster behavior change.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0285868
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume18
Issue number5 May
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

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