Listening to caregivers: narratives of health seeking for children under five with pneumonia and diarrhea: Insights from the NIGRAAN trial in Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Background: Understanding health-seeking behaviors of caregivers is important to reduce child mortality. Several factors influence decision-making related to childhood illnesses.
Objective: The objective of this study was to gather caretaker narratives to develop a comprehensive understanding of the context and process of caregiving at household level during all stages of an episode of diarrhea and pneumonia in children < 5.
Methods: Using a narrative interview approach, stories from caregivers of children < 5 were collected from a rural district in Sindh Pakistan. Eleven households with children < 5 were randomly selected and purposive sampling was done to interview 20 caregivers. All data collection was conducted privately in participants’ homes and informed consent taken. Manual content analysis was carried out by three independent researchers and emerging themes drawn.
Results: The role of joint family system is integral in making decisions and the child’s paternal grandmother, is an important and trusted source of information regarding child sickness in the household. They often promote home remedies with considerable authority prior to formal consultation with the health care system. Caregivers were generally dissatisfied with doctors in the public sector who were perceived to be providing free consultation with a poor quality of care and long waiting time as compared to private doctors. Financial considerations and child support were favorably addressed in households with a joint family system.
Conclusion: The joint family system provides a strong support system, but also tends to reduce parental autonomy in decision-making and delay first contact with formal health providers. Prevalent home remedies, and authority of elders in the family influence management practices. Interventions for reducing improving child mortality should be cognizant of the context of decision-making and social influences at the household level.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare