Table of Contents
ISRN Tropical Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 905836, 10 pages
Research Article

Factors Perceived by Caretakers as Barriers to Health Care for Under-Five Children in Mazabuka District, Zambia

1Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Zambia, P.O. Box 50110, Lusaka 10101, Zambia
2Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Medicine, Copperbelt University, P.O. Box 71191, Ndola 10101, Zambia
3Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Thorvaldsensvej 57, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Denmark

Received 6 February 2013; Accepted 22 February 2013

Academic Editors: F. J. Andrade-Narvaez and P. Horrocks

Copyright © 2013 H. Halwindi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In rural areas of Zambia primary health care is provided by rural health centres (RHCs). However, accessibility to these services is limited. In the catchment areas of two RHCs in Mazabuka district (Chivuna and Magoye RHCs) we investigated factors that caretakers perceived as barriers to health care for under five children and how they cope with the barriers. Ten Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with caretakers of children under-five years of age and key informant interviews with six health workers from the two RHCs, and eight community health workers were conducted in May 2006. The major factors perceived as barriers were poor quality of health services, unavailability of medicines, financial constraints, weak outreach programmes, bad scheduling of health programmes, poor communication, long distance to RHCs and low awareness levels of the importance of taking children for child health week among caretakers. Caretakers’ main coping strategy was the use of the folk sector of health care. The findings of this study highlight the challenges that exist in accessing of health care in resource-poor settings and underscore that the provision of health care services of good quality remains a major challenge.