Yvonne Maldonado

Publication Details

  • Patterns of health seeking behavior during episodes of childhood diarrhea: a study of Tzotzil-speaking Mayans in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE Granich, R., Cantwell, M. F., Long, K., Maldonado, Y., Parsonnet, J. 1999; 48 (4): 489-495


    In Chiapas, Mexico, diarrheal disease causes the majority of all deaths in children under the age of five. Treatment of childhood diarrhea may be influenced by local beliefs and cultural practices. Few studies have attempted to quantitatively evaluate health seeking behavior (HSB) for diarrheal diseases in indigenous communities, while controlling for potential confounding factors such as parental education or socioeconomic status. A rapid ethnographic survey was conducted in Nabenchauc, Chiapas, to determine hypothetical HSB patterns for each of four major types of childhood diarrhea. Additionally, we examined the actual HSB for the last episode of childhood diarrheal illness within the household. One hundred households participated in the survey; 94 households with children < 5 years old reported a mean of 1.9 diarrheal episodes during the preceding month. Households reported using a mean of 1.3 types of in-home remedies. Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) was used in <2% of the 368 HSB patterns elicited for the four types of diarrhea. HSB patterns utilized an eclectic combination of traditional, allopathic, local and distant health care options. A mean of 2.5 outside-the-home health care options were reported for each diarrheal type; the local grocery store was reported in 245 (67%) of the hypothetical HSB patterns and as a first option in 199 (54%). Maternal and/or paternal education had little impact on hypothetical HSB. Households with lower SES were more likely to report using local grocery stores as a first option and were less likely to use options outside the village. The rapid ethnographic survey approach allows for assessment of changes in the approach to health care option utilization in cultures incorporating new health care paradigms. Public health interventions targeting local stores may lead to increased use of ORT, thereby potentially reducing early morbidity and mortality due to childhood diarrhea.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000077986300005

    View details for PubMedID 10075174

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