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September 2022

Soc Sci Med. 1983 ; 17(11): 709-19.

Allocation of family resources for health care in rural Haiti.

Coreil J.

A household survey of 230 episodes of infant and child illness in rural Haiti was analyzed to identify sociocultural and environmental factors that determine allocation of family resources for health care. The analysis tested the hypothesis that expenditures of time and money would vary according to expectations about the prognosis for the disease in question, the age and sex of the child, the household composition and family structure, and seasonal fluctuations in weather and financial resources. The results show that these factors are significant predictors of resource allocation, although they do not always produce the kind of influence that was hypothesized. The findings emphasize the importance of cultural and ecological variables, as well as of purely medical and economic factors, in understanding family response to illness. The importance of nonmonetary resources (such as the free time available to adult family members) in that response is also indicated. The study has methodological and practical implications for Haiti and other areas.

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