The Impact of Poverty on the Health Seeking Behavior of the Poor: The Case of Debre Markos City of Ethiopia

G. JaiKishan Yilkal Kefale


Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Accordingly, Shortage of house, inadequate water, poor sanitation, limited access to education and health, inadequate income and low nutrition are manifestation of poverty in general and urban poverty in particular. Describing the health seeking behavior of Debre Markos city in qualitative research design is the objectives of the study. Interview, case studies, FGD and observation are employed to generate qualitative information. Although access to health is relatively expanding in the city, the persistent poverty has prevented the poor households and individuals to utilize modern health centers in time of illness. Transport cost, consultation and medication cost and lack of awareness are factors to deter the poor from access to modern health centers.  The study explores that the poor use spiritual (religious), traditional healer, witchcraft and self-treatment for illness that has no significant expenses as alternative health centers. Accordingly, the health seeking behavior of the poor people is influenced by poverty to use other alternatives. The study has explored the direct impact of poverty on health seeking behaviors of the city poor residents from cultural and economic aspects.

Keywords:-  health, poverty and cultural


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