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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Health
Title Health of children less than 5 years old in an upper middle income country: parents' views
Author(s)
Volume 2
Issue 04
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 356-365
URL http://file.scirp.org/Html/1656.html
Abstract
Health literature in the Caribbean, and in par-ticular Jamaica, has continued to use objective indices such as mortality and morbidity to ex-amine children’s health. The current study uses subjective indices such as parent-reported health conditions and health status to evaluate the health of children instead of traditional ob-jective indices. The study seeks 1) to examine the health and health care-seeking behaviour of the sample from the parents’ viewpoints; and 2) to compute the mean age of the sample with a particular illness and describe whether there is an epidemiological shift in these conditions. Two nationally representative cross-sectional surveys were used for this study (2002 and 2007). The sample for the current study is 3,062 respondents aged less than 5 years. For 2002, the study extracted a sample of 2,448 under 5 year olds from the national survey of 25,018 respondents, and 614 under 5 year olds were extracted from the 2007 survey of 6,728 re-spondents. Parents-reported information was used to measure issues on children under 5 years old. In 2007, 43.4% of the sample had very good health status; 46.7% good health status; 2.5% poor health and 0.3% very poor health status. Almost 15% of children had illnesses in 2002, and 6% more had illnesses in 2007 over 2002. In 2002, the percentage of the sample with particular chronic illnesses was: diabetes mel-litus (0.6%); hypertension (0.3%) and arthritis (0.3%). However, none was recorded in 2007. The mean age of children less than 5 years old with acute health conditions (i.e. diarrhoea, respiratory diseases and influenza) increased over 2002. In 2007, 43.4% of children less than 5 years old had very good health status; 46.7% good health statu s; 7.1% fair health status; 2.5% poor and 0.3% very poor health status. The as-sociation between health status and parent- reported illness was –x2 (df = 4) = 57.494, P< 0.001-with the relationship being a weak one, correlation coefficient=0.297. A cross-tabulation between health status and parent-reported di-agnosed illness found that a significant statis-tical correlation existed between the two vari-ables –x2 (df = 16) = 26.621, P < 0.05, cc = 0.422, – with the association being a moderate one, correlation coefficient = 0.422. A cross tabula-tion between health status and health care- seeking behaviour found a significant statistical association between the t wo variables –x2 (df = 4) = 10.513, P < 0.033-with the correlation being a weak one-correlation coefficient = 0.281. Rural children had the least health status. The health disparity that existed between rural and urban less than 5 year olds showed that this will not be removed simply because of the abolition of health care utilization fees.

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