Healthcare use for diarrhoea and dysentery in actual and hypothetical cases, Nha Trang, Viet Nam.
Kaljee L., Thiem VD., von Seidlein L., Genberg BL., Canh DG., Tho LH., Minh TT., Thoa LTK., Clemens JD., Trach DD.
To better understand healthcare use for diarrhoea and dysentery in Nha Trang, Viet Nam, qualitative interviews with community residents and dysentery case studies were conducted. Findings were supplemented by a quantitative survey which asked respondents which healthcare provider their household members would use for diarrhoea or dysentery. A clear pattern of healthcare-seeking behaviours among 433 respondents emerged. More than half of the respondents self-treated initially. Medication for initial treatment was purchased from a pharmacy or with medication stored at home. Traditional home treatments were also widely used. If no improvement occurred or the symptoms were perceived to be severe, individuals would visit a healthcare facility. Private medical practitioners are playing a steadily increasing role in the Vietnamese healthcare system. Less than a quarter of diarrhoea patients initially used government healthcare providers at commune health centres, polyclinics, and hospitals, which are the only sources of data for routine public-health statistics. Given these healthcare-use patterns, reported rates could significantly underestimate the real disease burden of dysentery and diarrhoea.