Healthcare Options and Factors Influencing Health Seeking Behavior in a Rural Community in Nigeria

A Cross-sectional Study


  • Paul West Okojie Liberty University
  • Richard Lane Liberty University



health-seeking behavior, rural, Nigeria, primary health care


Introduction: Healthcare resources are disproportionately distributed between urban and rural areas in many developing countries including Nigeria. Barriers to healthcare like cultural beliefs, poor education, and financial constraints make many rural dwellers seek other options of healthcare available to them. This paper aimed to determine healthcare options and sociodemographic factors associated with health-seeking practices in a rural community setting.

Methods: A sample of 380 rural community dwellers in southern Nigeria was recruited in a cross-sectional study. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect socio-demographic, healthcare access and utilization data. Data were analyzed with SPSS version 25.0 software. A chi-square test was used to find the association between sociodemographic characteristics and their health-seeking practices.

Results: Equal proportions (43.4%, 42.9%) of the respondents fell within the younger age categories of 10-29 and 30-49 years. Self-reported factors influencing the choice of health care were: Promptness of care (41.8%), cost (22.4%), professionalism (16.8%), distance (15.8%), and cultural belief (3.2%). The patent medicine store was the most utilized source of health care (42.1%). 140 (36.8%) respondents sought health care in the hospital. The hospital was utilized by 41.8% of respondents with secondary education; 34.9% with tertiary education; 31.7% primary and 26.1% with no formal education, respectively. Females tended to seek health care from hospitals (40.2%) and patent medicine store (43.7%) compared to males (33.3% and 41.0%). There was a statistically significant association between education and health care options utilized (P<0.05).

Conclusion:  Less than half of rural dwellers make minimal use of standard health care mainly due to cost and perception of promptness. The health authority should, therefore, prioritize community health education and expand healthcare access to enable rural dwellers to optimize the minimum standard healthcare available within their various communities.

Author Biographies

Paul West Okojie, Liberty University

MPH Student

Richard Lane, Liberty University

MD, MPH, professor in the Department of Public and Communty Health, and the pionier Program Director of the Liberty University Master of Public Health program. 


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How to Cite

Okojie, P. W., & Lane, R. (2020). Healthcare Options and Factors Influencing Health Seeking Behavior in a Rural Community in Nigeria: A Cross-sectional Study. Christian Journal for Global Health, 7(2), 83–92.