Patterns and determinants of health care utilization : an assessment of high density urban areas in Harare, Zimbabwe

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Zimbabwe has been well known, since independence in 1980, to have one of the best health care systems in Sub-Saharan Africa regardless of a low economic growth pattern. The gains in health status that have been reaped in the 1980s and early 1990s have now been reversed due to the combination of the effects of structural adjustments policies, intermittent drought, a decline in the quality of health care services and severe economic decline. The current economc environment places pressure on households, especially the poorest, to meet the rising costs of individual medical care. The study focused on the evaluation of the patterns and determinants of health care utilization, which can aid in understanding the responsiveness of individuals to the current health care system in light of the economc climate. A detailed assessment of health seeking behaviour and health care utilization was performed using a cross-sectional household community survey comprising of 527 households (2302 individuals) that were randomly selected in three high density suburbs in Harare, Zimbabwe. Information pertaining to demographics, socio-economic status, and health status in addtion to the experiences in the use of health care services or health care providers was collected using a questionnaire.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 114-123).