Awareness about hepatitis C and patterns of health seeking behavior among hepatitis C patients in Karachi, Pakistan
Date of Award
Master of Science in Nursing (MScN)
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan
Objective: The study aimed to assess the level of awareness about hepatitis C, the patterns of health seeking behavior, and the satisfaction with the health care providers among hepatitis C patients in Karachi, Pakistan. This study also intended to identify the participants' reported exposure to risk factors and the causative agents of hepatitis C. Moreover, this study also aimed to identify association between patients' sociodemographic characteristics and pattern of health seeking behavior, and also the association between participants' awareness about hepatitis C and their primary contact with health care providers. Methodology: A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted among 250 hepatitis C patients, who were recruited from the Aga Khan University Hospital and the Civil Hospital Karachi, Pakistan, between March and May 2013. Data was collected through a modified questionnaire on 'Awareness about hepatitis C and patterns of health seeking behavior among hepatitis C patients', and it was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results This study found that only half of the study participants (52%) had correct knowledge about hepatitis C; in fact, most of the study participants had incorrect knowledge about transmission of HCV infection, such as sharing towel/clothes (76.8%), coughing (75.2%), tattooing (66.4%), kissing (66%), sexual intercourse (54.4%), ear and nose piercing (53.6%), and eating utensils (53.6%). Moreover, 90.8% participants had misconceptions that preventive vaccine for hepatitis C infection is available. This study also found that 61% participants had exposure to needles/syringes and 22% participants perceived the use of medical instruments as their cause of hepatitis C. The participants (19.11%) also reported food and water as their cause of hepatitis C. The patterns of health seeking behavior showed that a majority of the study participants approached a medical doctor (n=368), followed by spiritual healers (n=206), and a few participants approached traditional healers (n=39) and homeopaths (n=11). In contrast to participants who visited traditional healers, homeopaths, or spiritual healers, the participants who visited doctors had effective treatment outcomes and they were satisfied with doctors. The study findings showed that there was no association between participants' awareness about hepatitis C and their primary contact with a health care provider. However, significant differences were identified between participants' occupation and first visit to spiritual healers (P=0.01), their education and first visit to traditional healers (P=0.02), and spiritual healers (P=0.006). Moreover, significant association was identified between the participants' number of children and their second visit to doctors (P=0.007), and family members belonging to the medicine field and their first visit to doctors (P=0.05) and spiritual healers (P=0.05). Conclusion: This study concluded that participants had misconceptions regarding HCV transmission, risk factors, and preventive vaccine for hepatitis C. Further, it concluded that patterns of health seeking behavior are strongly related to the patients' cultural practices and beliefs, which affect their choice of health care providers. Finally, this study has provided a basis for planning interventional studies aimed at improving patients' level of awareness about hepatitis C and their health seeking behaviors.
Pirani, S. (2013). Awareness about hepatitis C and patterns of health seeking behavior among hepatitis C patients in Karachi, Pakistan (Unpublished doctoral thesis). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.