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Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 1997 Mar; 28(1): 99-106.

Acute lower respiratory infections in rural Bangladeshi children: patterns of treatment and identification of barriers.

Zaman K, Zeitlyn S, Chakraborty J, de Francisco A, Yunus M.

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe.

A study conducted in rural Bangladesh examined the patterns of health seeking behavior, mothers' recognition of symptoms, the perceived causes and barriers to timely treatment of acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI). A total of 194 children under 5 years of age suffering from ALRI in an intensive maternal child health and family planning area was prospectively followed. About 62% of the mothers sought allopathic treatment for their children within 24 hours of case detection. No treatment of any kind was sought in 45 (23.2%) cases. Most of the mothers could recognize the different symptoms of ALRI. Cold was reported as the most common cause of ALRI. No significant difference was observed in the reported symptoms or perceived cause of the disease between those who sought no treatment and those who sought allopathic, homeopathic, spiritual or combined treatments. Failure to recognize severity followed by work loss were the most common reasons identified for not seeking any medical care. Whether or not a mother sought allopathic treatment was not associated with the child's age, sex, mother's age, mother's education, duration of illness, birth order, housing type or distance from the health center. The study indicates the potential value of giving parents clear guidelines on recognition of severity of symptoms of ALRI and motivating them to seek treatment quickly when these symptoms present. Health service providers should be aware of the heavy work loads which rural women have and the severe time constraints which deter them from seeking timely treatment from the appropriate sources.

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