Determinants of first choice of healthcare provider for treatment in Uganda
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The inappropriate first choice of healthcare provider has been associated with risks such as wastage of money, drug resistance, and masking symptoms of diseases, disability and death. The main objective of this study was to examine the determinants of first choice of healthcare provider for treatment in Uganda. The study used secondary data sourced from the National Service Delivery Survey (2015) conducted by UBOS. First choice of healthcare provider was the dependent variable grouped under three categories; Government, private, and other health facilities. The analysis was done using frequency distributions and summary statistics at the univariate level, a Two-way table with measures of association and Pearson Chi-square Test at bivariate level and Multinomial Logit model at the multivariate level. The results show that 1 in every 10 (10%) persons sought treatment from non-prescriptive sources such as relatives/friends, shops, witch doctors, and self-medication. Up to 18% of the respondents were not satisfied with the quality of healthcare provided, 43% of the respondents rated distance to the health facilities as long. At the multivariate stage the results show that; The first choice of healthcare provider for people living in smaller households (1 to 3 members) were more likely to be non-prescriptive sources (others) compared to the formal public facility (RRR=0.706). People not satisfied with the quality of healthcare were more likely to use non-prescriptive sources as the first choice instead of government healthcare (RRR=0.516). Respondents who rated distance to first choice of healthcare as far were those who went to Government health facility (RRR=0.150). People who could afford to pay for medical services had a reduced likelihood for using Government healthcare (RRR=0.009). In conclusion, quality satisfaction, household size, household head education level, residence, transport mean, distance rating to healthcare, and payment/cost of medical services had an influence on the respondents’ first choice of healthcare provider for treatments. In order to reduce inappropriate choices for first healthcare when people fall sick, the policymakers should come up with sustained Information Education and Communication (IEC) program to cause mindset change. Also, the government should appropriately equip the health facilities and continually employ newer technologies that improve the quality of care.