Author(s): Anwar M, Green J, Norris P
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: This narrative review was carried out to collate the work of researchers on health-seeking behaviour in Pakistan, to discuss the methods used, highlight the emerging themes and identify areas that have yet to be studied. STUDY DESIGN: Review. METHODS: An overview of studies on health-seeking behaviour in Pakistan, found via searches on scholarly databases intended to locate material of medical and anthropological relevance. RESULTS: In total, 29 articles were reviewed with a range of different methodologies. A retrospective approach was the most common. A variety of medical conditions have been studied in terms of health-seeking behaviour of people experiencing such conditions. However, a wide range of chronic illnesses have yet to be studied. Nevertheless, some studies highlighting unusual issues such as snake bites and health-seeking behaviour of street children were also found. In terms of geographical area, the majority of studies reviewed were performed in the provinces of Sind and Punjab, with little research targeting the people from the two other provinces (Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) of Pakistan. Predominant utilization of private healthcare facilities, self-medication, involvement of traditional healers in the healthcare system, women's autonomy, and superstitions and fallacies associated with health-seeking behaviour were found to be the themes that repeatedly emerged in the literature reviewed. CONCLUSIONS: The sociocultural and religious background of Pakistan means that health-seeking behaviour resembles a mosaic. There is a need to improve the quality of service provided by the public healthcare sector and the recruitment of female staff. Traditional healers should be trained and integrated into the mainstream to provide adequate healthcare. Serious efforts are required to increase the awareness and educational level of the public, especially women in rural areas, in order to fight against myths and superstitions associated with health-seeking behaviour. Copyright © 2012 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Public Health
and referenced in Journal of Infectious Diseases and Diagnosis