Determinants of health seeking behavior among health workers in Kenya: a case of AAR Healthcare Kenya
Njuguna, Eva Wangeci
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Whereas several studies have described health seeking behavior within the context of various diseases, and some among different population sub groups, the dominant perspective taken of healthcare workers has been that of service providers and not as consumers. This study sought to identify and assess the factors that influence health seeking behavior of healthcare workers in Kenya hence addressesing this gap. The specific objectives were: to determine the predisposing, the enabling, and the ‘need’ factors that influence health seeking behavior of healthcare workers. To achieve these objectives the study focused on a particular sub-group, that is, health care workers at AAR Health care Kenya - a private for-profit health services provider with a national footprint. The study was anchored on the Andersen health behavior model and adopted a mixed methods research design. The study targeted 200 health workers with a focus on those working at the Nairobi Outpatient Centres. The study employed a stratified random sampling technique whereby a 30% sample was picked from each subgroup, resulting in a sample size of 75 subjects. Primary data was collected through a questionnaire and data obtained analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistics. To this end, the study found that predisposing factors such as age, gender, level of education, marital status, religion and ethnicity determined the health seeking behavior of HCWs. The study also established that quality of health services in the health facility, cost of health service, ability to pay for the health service, availability of drugs, medical health insurance coverage, and waiting time before getting treatment in a health facility influenced health-seeking behavior of HCWs. Need factors such as perceived health status, severity of their illness, the status of their illness, duration they have stayed with a disease/ illness, ability to self-medicate and having poor health perception influenced HCWs health seeking behavior. The regression indicated that there is a positive and statistically significant association between health seeking behavior of HCWs and need factors, enabling factors and while predisposing factors were found to be statistically insignificant with health seeking behavior of HCWs. The study recommends for up-scaling the coverage of the existing health insurance schemes including the National Health Insurance Scheme, for HCWs. There is need to increase the number of health facilities in under-served areas. The quality of care provided at health facilities also requires attention (improve quality of care) and ensure availability of drugs. It is expected that the findings of this study will be of benefit to the healthcare workers in terms of improving the health seeking behavior of HCWs. To policy makers and regulatory institutions, the findings may trigger policy formulation aimed at improving the health seeking behavior by HCW; and to scholars and researchers the study addzknowledge in the field of health seeking behavior of HCWs and also act as a basis forzfurther research.