Background and aims Health-care seeking behavior is affected by various socio-economic, physical and cultural factors. A proper understanding of such factors can improve access to health-care and focus the development of health outreach programs. We determined factors that influence and differentiate health-seeking behaviors for children compared to care for mothers among women in rural India.
Method Cross-sectional health survey of women, 18–45 years conducted by female interviewers in a hospital clinic and in sixteen surrounding villages in rural Gujarat, India. As a part of the survey, respondents identified the “most significant factor” that influences their decision when selecting a health-care provider. Additionally, respondents with a living child were also asked the same question in regards seeking care for their children.
Results 681 women completed the survey, of which 496 reported having a living child. Of these 496, 193 (39%) identified cost as “most significant factor” when choosing a provider for themselves compared with only to 73 (15%) for their children (χ2, p<0.0001). Quality of the care provided is a more significant factor when seeking care for children (11%) than for mothers (4%) (χ2, p<0.0001). Education and income significantly influence mothers’ behavior when choosing a healthcare provider for themselves, but not for their children.
Conclusion Health-seeking behavior is an important variable in the success of outreach health programs. Mothers in this area of India consider quality of care more and cost less when selecting provider for their children’s care in contrast to their own.