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Factors associated with delay in treatment-seeking behaviour for fever cases among caregivers of under-five children in India: Evidence from the National Family Health Survey-4, 2015-16
Authors: Dhiman Debsarma, Jayanti Saha, Sagar Ghosh
Source: PLOS ONE , Volume 17, issue 6; DOI:
Topic(s): Child health
Children under five
Country: Asia
Published: JUN 2022
Abstract: Background: Fever is one of the common clinical symptoms found among children suffering from various illnesses. India carries a substantial burden of febrile illness among under-five children which heighten the risk of malnutrition, mortality and morbidity. This study aims to determine the factors associated with delay in treatment-seeking for fever among under-five children in India. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out using the large-scale nationally representative data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), conducted in 2015-2016. The data were collected by using four survey questionnaires i.e., Household Questionnaire, Woman's Questionnaire, Man's Questionnaire, and Biomarker Questionnaire. Delay in treatment-seeking was defined as taking a child for treatment after 24 hours of fever onset. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models were performed to assess the factors associated with delay in treatment-seeking behaviour for fever in under-five children. Results: In India, 31.12% (n = 7229) of the caregivers sought treatment for children after 24 hours of the onset of fever. Findings show no significant differences in delay in treatment-seeking behaviour by age groups and sex of children. Multivariate analysis revealed that the odds of delay in treatment-seeking behaviour of fever were higher among children from the poorest wealth quintile (AOR: 2.06; 95% CI: 1.85, 2.31), belonging to the scheduled tribe (AOR: 1.35; 95% CI: 1.24, 1.48), children who resided in rural areas (AOR: 1.14; 95% CI: 1.07, 1.22), children from the northeast region (AOR: 1.29; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.46), and children of caregivers who perceived distance to health facilities as a 'big problem' (AOR: 1.16; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.23). Conclusion: The study shows a high prevalence of delay in seeking treatment for fever among caregivers of under-five children in India. Delay in seeking treatment is associated with socio-demographic and socio-economic factors. Therefore, there is a need for intensified health promotion programs to sensitize caregivers on the importance of early health-seeking behaviour.