Studying health-seeking behaviours: collecting reliable data, conducting comprehensive analysis.
There is certainly a growing need to justify the significance of studying health-seeking behaviours for designing advocacy campaigns, lobbying for a policy shift and convincing donors to invest in priority areas. Moreover, policymakers need to be encouraged to design evidence-based policies that take into account information relating to health-promoting, -seeking and -utilization behaviour and the factors determining these behaviours. This paper primarily covers the 'methodology' used in the study of health-seeking behaviours and determinants of health services utilization in a predominantly rural district of Pakistan. The paper substantiates that this methodology is comprehensive and reliable, and there is potential for replicating this in similar settings. The approach of Kroeger in his research on the study of health-seeking behaviours, particularly in developing countries, provides the most holistic framework for examining, analysing and interpreting factors and determinants of health-seeking behaviours and health services utilization in developing countries. This study endeavoured to validate Kroeger's framework in a Pakistani setting, exploring all the factors listed through mixed method research, and qualitative supplemented by representative quantitative enquiry. This approach has also helped in understanding the inter-relationship of various factors and drivers of health-seeking behaviours from all angles.
Journal of Biosocial Science (2008) 40 (1) pp. 53-68 [doi:10.1017/S0021932007002118].