Health Seeking Behavior Among Street Children and Government’s Response to their Rights: Sophia Chanyalew Kassa
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This study is about the health seeking behavior of street children and the ways in which government health care system is responding to meeting their needs and rights in Addis Ababa,Ethiopia. More specifically it seeks to explore how health is perceived by street children, identify the major health problems/needs of street children, and examine the commitment of the government in addressing the rights of street children to health care provision, according to UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child). In this study, different concepts and theories are used to look into the lives of street children, in particular to health seeking behavior in the utilization of government health care facilities. Three methods of data collection under the qualitative research design are used namely, in-depth interview, focus group discussion and participant observation. The first two methods are by large used to obtain street children’s perspectives. In addition, through an in-depth interview the perspective of adults who are directly involved in the provision of health care service to childrenat the government health care facilities is obtained. An interview of the sub city health official was also conducted to gain an insight of the policy and programs being implemented in regards to health of street children. Street children are found out to encounter a number of health problems. Despite this, it is foundout that they are almost not attending government health care facilities. The study carried out on health seeking behavior of street children in the utilization of health care services, reveals that no focus is given from government primary health care facilities in addressing their needs and rights, which ranges from disease prevention to care and treatment provision. The main barriers to the attendance of health care services by street children are found to be the children’s incapacity to pay for services and the negative attitude that the health staff has towards the children. In addition, it is found out that the ways the children perceive health contribute to the less utilization of available health care services.