Studies for health planning in rural Somalia: community perceptions and epidemiological data

Abdulaziz Shafir Aden, 1994


This thesis explores wheter people’s opinions about perceived health problems and priorities and epidemiological data could support each other in the formation of future primary health care programmes. To accomplish this a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods were used to analyse the health problems of two Somali villages. Villagers expressed their perceived health priorities, mortality was monitored by an epidemiological surveillance system and morbidity data collected in a cohort study. The acceptace and use of some primary health care tools were investigated by interviews and epidemiological studies. In individual and group interviews the villagers expressed malaria, jaundice, diarrhoea and respiratory diseases to be major health problems. It should be noted, that respiratory infection was the major disease problem among children and the main cause of death among children as well as adults. In spite of this, it was not considered as a top health problem by the villages. Respiratory infections are usually treated by self-care or traditional medicine. This may be an indication of failure of the primary health care to address such a common and serious health problem.

Most mothers perceived child diarrhoea as a condition in which oral rehydration therapy and feeding were logical parts of its management. Literate mothers were generally more active in the treatment of diahorrea diseases. Almost all mothers recognised the value of the growth chart as useful for the control and promotionof their children’s health and/or growth. They recognised the normal growth pattern on the chart but had some difficulties in interpreting subnormal growth. However, they questioned whether any benefit could be gained from growth monitoring alone, if it was not integrated into appropriate village health services.

Thus, professionally assessed health needs and people’s perception of health problems and needs for health services should be seen as a complementary entities supporting each other in the planning and implementation of health care programmes.

Material kindly provided by the Roma 3 University's Somali Archive

Studies for health planning in rural somalia

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