Women's social position and health-seeking behaviors: is the health care system accessible and responsive in Pakistan?

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


To make the health care system more accessible and responsive to women particularly in developing countries, it is imperative to study the health-seeking behaviors and factors determining utilization of health care services. This study was carried out in close collaboration with Aga Khan Health Services, Pakistan (AKHSP) and the Health Department of Northern Areas of Pakistan. Key findings indicate that more than one-third of women did not know the cause of their reported illness. There is a median delay of 3 days before a consultation. Local women utilize AKHSP services far more than other health services due to the quality of services offered and the availability of female health staff. The perception of receiving the required treatment is lowest for government health services. Consulting faith healers is a common practice. Health education and health promotion campaigns are needed to change existing health-seeking behaviors among women. Social arrangements should be thoughtfully considered to make the health system more responsive. More female staff needs to be deployed in government health facilities. A public-private partnership seems to provide a means to strengthen the health care system and consequently to promote women's health.


Health Care for Women International