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HEALTH SEEKING BEHAVIOUR PRACTICES AMONG NIGERIANS

Project Topic: Health Seeking Behaviour Practices among Nigerians – Case of UNEC Students


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

According to World Health Organization (WHO) Health is the state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not merely absence of disease. While according to Longman dictionary of contemporary English, to seek is to look for what you need. Seeking therefore is the act of looking for what you need and behaviour is how someone does something in a particular way. Deducing from the above definitions, health seeking behaviour is the act of looking for complete physical, psychological and social wellbeing in a particular way.    

Good health seeking behaviour is vital for the survival of mankind and its importance cannot be overemphasized. This is as a result of arrays of ailments which parades itself in our community today. Health seeking behaviour is ones’ consciousness on how to remain healthy and how to consult when the person perceives any threat to his/her health. Just ad individual differences exist so also are the strategies they adopt when the person(s)’ health is threatened or their bid to remain healthy, which portrays the population’s consciousness and how they engage the health system in a quest to remain healthy.

It has been reported in several studies that in many developing and underdeveloped economically deprived countries, that most episodes of illness are treated by self medication and it is common practice due to quality concerns related to healthcare delivery system as well as the uncertainty of health consumers on the benefit of professional health care (Hussain, 2010). The case in our own healthcare system in Nigeria is not an exception. Heath seeking behaviour varies among different population and within the same population, and are influenced by numerous factors like age, gender, education, family, society, law, availability of drugs exposure to advertisements and nature of illness (Montastrue; Bagheri; Geraud, Lapeyre, 1997, Martins; Miranda; Mendes; Soares; Ferrier; Nogueira, 2002). These concern are common among people related healthcare, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists and student (McAuliffe; Rohman; Santangelo; Feldman; Magnuson; Sobol; Weissman (2001, Vavranate; Vladimir; Zdravko, 2005).

Long before the advent of orthodox (Modern medicine) and the knowledge of the aetiology of ill health, man attributed ill health to all sorts of things among which are the anger of the gods or the goddess or deity recognized by that community, sacrileges committed or the adversary of their enemies.

All these greatly affect the health seeking behaviour of people with such believe which in turn encourage them to patronize traditional healers, the use of charm for protection. With the advent of modern medicine and knowledge of the causes of ill health has also had great influence on health seeking behavoiur of people.

People may want to reason that with the exposure of university students to literatures of the causes of ill health, should have a positive impact on them and make them more conscious of their health thus would strive to avoid such lifestyle or habit that may constitute threat to their health; like smoking, abuse of drug, unprotected sexual intercourse and premarital sex and thus adopt healthy lifestyle kike adequate nutrition, exercise – which boost their immune system and confer protection on them, regular medical checkup, the use of condom for those who cannot abstain. Suffice it to say that knowledge is a strong factor but alone not sufficient in influencing ones’ health seeking behaviour positively.

This bring to light; health promotion programme world over which have long been premised on the idea that providing knowledge about causes of ill health and choices available will go along way towards promoting a change in individual behaviour, towards more beneficial health seeking behaviour (Hausmann-muela; Ribera; Nyamongo, 2003). However, there is growing recognition in both developed and developing countries that providing education and knowledge at individual level is not sufficient in itself to promote a change in behaviour (MacKian, 2003).

Nigerian government has made effort to ensure that the consciousness of her citizenry is awakened concerning their health and to influence their health seeking behaviour through the establishment of primary health centres in all part of the country. This was imperative because of the world’s move to wards healthy living; this was as a result of primary health care declaration in Almata in 1978. This is in line with Okoronkwo (2004) who asserted that the component of primary health care include: education, and information on health problem and promotion of t heir prevention and control; support for adequate food supply and nutrition; assurance of safe water; and maternal – child health care, including family planning and immunization; the treatment of common ailments and injury mental health and the provision of safe essential drugs. Furthermore one may assume that by changing knowledge, behaviour is automatically expected to change but this is not always the case. To give an illustration, one might expect that if people recognize that if people recognize the signs and symptoms of malaria and if they know that malaria can be treated with a particular antimalaria regimen and can be prevented with insecticides treated mosquito net they will act accordingly and attend a health facility and obtain the net respectively. This is to say that health seeking behaviour determinants are multifactoral. Other factors which may influence health seeking behaviour include motivational factors, stigma, treatment expectations, satisfactory health care services, decision making for health care services, financial constraints and accessibility of health services.

The essence of this study is to assess the health seeking behaviour of UNEC students and the factors that affects their health seeking behaviour positively and negatively.

Statement of the Problem

The practice of good health seeking behaviour is important among students as it would help to keep them sound and healthy to study effectively and emerge better refined. Also to the fact that they are leaders and parents of tomorrow thus would immensely inculcate in their wards this habit for sustenance and the cycle continues.

The researchers who is a student of this school having observed the poor trend of the attitude of students who were close to him on health seeking behaviour in some areas such as registration with the school’s medical centre which guarantees easy access to treatment even in emergency situations, delay in seeking experts opinions when ill or having noticed some symptoms of ill health, denial of ill health even when the signs are obvious and overwhelming, and thus resorts to prayers for healing, arrays of self-medication of which antibiotics are inclusive. Being aware of the effect of self-medication which manifest itself as consequences of over and under medication dosage, and the length of medication intake which can bring about the emergence of resistant strains pathogenic micro-organism and the reduction of normal microflora which could have drastic consequence.

These made the researcher worried and thus contemplated on the health seeking behaviour practice of UNEC students in general. This aroused his interest and curiosity to empirically research on the health seeking behavioural practices of UNEC students.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to assess health seeking behaviour practice of UNEC students

Objectives of the Study

  1. Determine the health seeking behaviour of UNEC students
  2. Assess the extent of self-medication among UNEC students
  3. Determine the factors that affect health seeking behaviour among UNEC students.

Research Questions

  1. What is the health seeking behavioural practices among UNEC students?
  2. To what extent does self medication exist among UNEC students?
  3. What are the factors that affects health seeking behavioural practices among students?

Significance of the Study

The information generated from this study will help to determine the nature of UNEC students’ health seeking practice, that is, whether it is towards the positive or negative direction which in turn will help formulation and implementation of programmes that would help correct some anomaly that may be detected among the students which negatively affected student health seeking behaviour. It will also facilitate the move towards strengthening of positive factors and ameliorating the negative ones.  

Curriculum development could equally benefit from the findings of the study and will facilitate teaching of health seeking among student of tertiary institutions and also in secondary schools.

It will also help in inculcate among students positive health behaviour which will go a long way to increase the utilization of preventive health and even when the ailment manifest prompt and adequate measures will be taken towards treating it.

The findings can also facilitate restructuring of health institution and to shape the health professionals that are responsive to the plight of the sick that is being empathetic.

The finding could be used by other researchers in this field and may add to existing literature.

Scope of the Study

The study is delimited to assessing the health seeking behaviour practices among students of UNEC, assessing their extent of self-medication, type of drug commonly abused and factors that affect their health seeking behavioural practice.

—This article is incomplete———–This article is incomplete———— It was extracted from a well articulated quality Project, Research Work/Material

Project Topic: Health Seeking Behaviour Practices among Nigerians – Case of UNEC Students

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