HEALTH SEEKING BEHAVIOR IN MEDELLIN
Objective: a qualitative study was carried out to explore health choices of Medellín’s residents from different social strata and factors associated to decisions. The aim was to determine behavior patterns, if any, among informants and if a health behavior model contributes to explain any existing pattern. Methodology: forty six people from different social strata were interviewed from July to September 2005; informants were questioned about the diseases and ailments they suffered during the last three months, as well as the course of action taken and the reason for each decision made. Results: the study found that most relevant factors associated to people health choices are cultural reasons leading people to seek folk medicine, financial reasons related to economic resources to afford health service costs, confidence on the health professional, and dissatisfaction with Western biomedicine and with the Colombian health care delivery services. Discussion: the criteria to seek health therapies were different than those defined in the health behavior models. Conclusions: it is necessary to incorporate social, economic and cultural aspects when we try to explain people health seeking behavior.
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