Intra-household decision-making on health and resource allocation In Borgou, Benin

Type Report
Title Intra-household decision-making on health and resource allocation In Borgou, Benin
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2000
Publisher Africa Population and Health Research Center
Bénin, as with many other West African countries, is characterized by high fertility and
mortality levels, despite governmental efforts, backed up by the international donor
community, to improve the overall health and well being of its population. To crystallize
these efforts, the Government of Bénin initiated health sector reforms in 1994. To support
this government initiative, USAID has funded the Integrated Family Health Project
(PROSAF), which is working with the Departmental Directorate of Health and other partners
in Borgou Department, which has the worst health and reproductive health indicators in the
country. The African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) carried out this
study, with support from FRONTIERS and USAID, in order to inform PROSAF about sociocultural
factors that can impede health improvements in Borgou. More specifically, the study
aims to identify key players in household decision-making processes, map out patterns of
health seeking behaviour, elucidate how such patterns are associated with prevailing health
services utilization, assess community valuation of existing health services and products, and
recommend to PROSAF approaches to identified target groups of their intervention.
The findings indicate that for all the communities under study, health care is not considered a
priority in the allocation of household resources. Resource prioritisation at the household
level is generally made without involving women. Choice and timing of treatment of illness
is based on availability and quality of health services, perceived cure for specific illnesses,
the severity of the illness and the cost of health services. Modern medical care is sought only
when an illness persists and other sources of health care, for example traditional treatment
and self-medication, have been exhausted.

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