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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - PhD Thesis
Title Knowledge of etiology in coastal Ghana: what do people know and how do they know it?
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
URL http://www.pstc.brown.edu/ghana/Papers/Andrzejewski SSM.pdf
This paper is concerned with child health in Ghana. Specifically, what do people know about the causes of three serious child illnesses – malaria, diarrheal disease, and respiratory infection – and what determines biomedical knowledge of etiology? Preston (1985) and Preston and Haines (1991), among others, theorized that “health knowledge,” or knowledge of contagion and hygiene and associated practices, constitutes an important causal mechanism in mortality decline. This analysis utilizes primary survey data (N=2500 adult men and women) collected in Ghana's Central Region in 2002. Descriptive and bivariate analysis demonstrate that knowledge of etiology of these three illnesses is quite low in this area of Ghana. For example, only half of respondents can correctly identify the cause of malaria, and less than ten percent attribute
diarrheal disease and respiratory infection to contagion. Although knowledge of contagion is quite low, knowledge of hygiene is considerably higher among study respondents. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that, as expected, education and literacy are strongly associated with knowledge of etiology of all three illnesses. In addition, other individual, household, and community characteristics are influential, including media exposure, participation in community organizations, migrant experience, household SES, and urban residence. These characteristics constitute alternative pathways – in addition to formal schooling – to improved health knowledge and child health behaviors and outcomes in Ghana

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