American Journal of Public Health Research
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American Journal of Public Health Research. 2021, 9(5), 189-200
DOI: 10.12691/ajphr-9-5-2
Open AccessArticle

General Perception of Illness and Gender Differences in Health Seeking Behaviour amongst Kom People of Boyo Division in Cameroon during the COVID 19 Pandemic

Kenneth Yongabi Anchang1, , Uwakwe Promise Chinedu2, Bernadette Ateghang3 and Obasi Chidera1

1Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria

2Department of Pschychology, Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria

3Global and Public Health Division, Pan African Health Systems Network, Germany

Pub. Date: August 04, 2021

Cite this paper:
Kenneth Yongabi Anchang, Uwakwe Promise Chinedu, Bernadette Ateghang and Obasi Chidera. General Perception of Illness and Gender Differences in Health Seeking Behaviour amongst Kom People of Boyo Division in Cameroon during the COVID 19 Pandemic. American Journal of Public Health Research. 2021; 9(5):189-200. doi: 10.12691/ajphr-9-5-2


Background: Individual responses to health are influenced by an array of issues, ranging from personal traits, such as beliefs, to elements acquired through education and the socioeconomic environment. Individual responses to health became intensified during the COVID 19 pandemic in Cameroon. Health-seeking behavior is an important indicator of how health services are used and how they can modify the health outcomes of populations. This study aimed to evaluate the perception of illness and health-seeking behavior amongst the indigenous Kom people in Njinikom Sub Division, Cameroon within the COVID 19 pandemic era Cameroon to help facilitate this process of making health care choices within a brewing COVID 19 pandemic. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out by trained interviewers (five nurses), during which a total of 400 people (55.7% female) aged 18-60 years were chosen using multistage random sampling and interviewed after obtaining their informed consent. Data on the respondent's socio-demographic structures and patterns of illness and health-seeking behaviors in their last illness were collected using structured questionnaires. The study statistic used was Chi-square (X2), with a significant level (α) set at 0.05. Four components of community engagement were considered in the study, namely; (1) social support, (2) individual motivation, (3) service utilization, and (4) community acceptance. Results: The study revealed malaria as the most common disease (51%), followed by typhoid fever (21%). Results showed that women are more likely to seek health than males. The differences explained above were significant (X2 = 8.771, P = 0.003). A significant relationship was also observed between gender and health-seeking with an effect size of 0.148 (P = 0.003), as well as between level of education and health-seeking (X2 = 49.422, P < 0.001). There was no significant relationship between religion and health-seeking (X2 = 6.383, P = 0.076), as well as between occupation and health-seeking (X2 = 44.476, P < 0.001). Conclusion: Health-seeking behavior in Njinikom includes a high rate of self-medication and use of traditional medicine, due to the misconception of disease and the costs of health services. Even among respondents who prefer orthodox medicine, the principal reasons for its use were comparisons to traditional medicine, usually with a bad perceptional concept of it. Better health outcomes will be achieved if practical health literacy and promotional programs are developed that take into account the special needs of the community members and their living environment.

health seeking behaviour perception of illness community health health promotion

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