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Care-seeking and appropriate treatment for childhood acute respiratory illness: an analysis of Demographic and Health Survey and Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey datasets for high-mortality countries
Authors: Mosites EM, Matheson AI, Kern E, Manhart LE, Morris SS, and Hawes SE.
Source: BMC Public Health, 14:446. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-446.
Topic(s): Child health
Childhood mortality
Children under five
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: MAY 2014
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Acute lower respiratory illness (ALRI) is a major global cause of morbidity and mortality among children under 5. Antibiotic treatment for ALRI is inexpensive and decreases case fatality, but care-seeking patterns and appropriate treatment vary widely across countries. This study sought to examine patterns of appropriate treatment and estimate the burden of cases of untreated ALRI in high mortality countries. METHODS: This study used cross-sectional survey data from the Phase 5/Phase 6 DHS and MIC3/MICS4 for 39 countries. We analyzed care-seeking patterns and antibiotic treatment based on country-level trends, and estimated the burden of untreated cases using country-level predictors in a general linear model. RESULTS: According to this analysis, over 66 million children were not treated with antibiotics for ALRI in 2010. Overall, African countries had a lower proportion of mothers who sought care for a recent episode of ALRI (41% to 86%) relative to Asian countries (75% to 87%). Seeking any care for ALRI was inversely related to seeking public sector care. Treatment with antibiotics ranged from 8% in Nepal to 87% in Jordan, and was significantly associated with urban residence. CONCLUSIONS: Untreated ALRI remains a substantial problem in high mortality countries. In Asia, the large population numbers lead to a high burden of children with untreated ALRI. In Africa, care-seeking behaviors and access to care issues may lead to missed opportunities to treat children with antibiotics.