Health Seeking Behavior Declines As Poverty Bites Zimbabweans

HEALTH seeking behaviour in the country has been deteriorating between 2017 and 2019 owing to high poverty levels coupled with unavailability of some health services, a 2019 Mini Poverty, Income, Consumption and Expenditure Survey (PICES) report shows.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

Presenting the latest findings at the launch of the 2017 PICES and 2019 Mini PICES, World Bank Senior Economist Rob Swinkels said the survey was a follow upon the 2017 PICS.

In 2017, the proportion of people who got sick in the past 30days for rural populace was 12percent increasing to 16 percent in 2019. For the urbanites, about 10 percent reported falling sick over the past 30days in 2017 with the figure rising to 14percent in 2019.

A little bit of more people were saying they were sick in the past thirty days. You see that the left side for the proportion that is sick, 2017, 2019 went up a little bit in both urban and rural areas.

The proportion of people visiting health centres in rural areas in 2019 was about 56 percent compared to 66 percent in 2017. In the urban areas, as of 2019, the proportion of people visiting healthcare service providers dropped from 62 percent in 2017 to 50 percent in 2019.

“Then the question is if you are sick did you visit the healthcare provider? And that proportion went down. In urban areas it went down from 62 to 50 percent and then in rural areas something similar,” he said. “The proportion of the sick who visited healthcare provider went down.”

Fewer people paid for health services in 2019 compared at 40 percent compared to 2017 at 45 percent.

“Also, fewer people paid for health services in 2019. Those who were able were mainly those who didn’t pay,” Swinkels said.

The proportion of people who were sick in the last 30days and needed medicine but were unable to obtain it in 2019 in rural it was 24, 7 percent  and in the urban at 28, 4 percent. The reasons for not obtaining the prescribed medication in 2019 varied from unaffordability to alternative solutions.

In urban areas, 44 percent said the medication was not affordable compared to 34, 3 percent in rural areas. The percentage of those who could not find was higher among rural citizens at 56, 2 percent compared to 38 percent.

There was still some knowledge gap on the importance and necessity of prescribed medication having none among the urban populace compared to a 1,2 percent who thought they didn’t really need the medicine.

It seemed more of the urbanites are using alternative and or substitute medicines to that prescribed at 10 percent compared to 1, 2 percent in the rural setting. Herbal medication was at 0, 6 percent among rural folk compared to 0 percent in the urban areas.

Other reasons for not obtaining prescribed medication were given most by 8 percent of those in the urban setting compared to 5, 3 percent in the rural areas.

“Those who were sick and required medicine, a quarter of these did not get the medicine. Mostly it’s because it was unavailable as you see on the chart at the table on the bottom. 44 percent in the urban areas, the reason for not being able to obtain the medicine was unaffordability. In the rural areas the main common reason is they can’t find it. Its not there,” the World Bank Senior Economist said.

Related posts

Leave a Comment