Factors affecting men's health care seeking behaviour and use of services : a case study of Inanda Township, Durban.
Men play a significant role within households and societies. Studies point out that women seek more health assistance and report more incidents of illness than men. Hence, this is one of the reasons why men’s life expectancy is short and women live longer than men. This has implications for human development, affecting life expectancy for present and future generations. The overall objective of this research is to provide insights into men’s health care seeking behaviour and factors affecting their utilisation of health care services. The study used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to collect data. A survey was used to collect data on the various factors that influence health care seeking behaviour of men. In addition, semi structured, in-depth interviews were used to explore factors influencing men’s utilisation of health care facilities. The study recruited men aged 18 years and over residing in Inanda, Durban. Men indicated that they had access to various health care facilities. They pointed to a number of factors facilitating and inhibiting use of available health care services. Men viewed health care facilities as institutions that are important in accessing health care assistance. They indicated that health care facilities are useful for the diagnosis and treatment of certain illnesses. The study found that men preferred the private health care services; however they could not afford to access these services because of high levels of unemployment. Some men prefer to treat themselves through the use of traditional medicine. Men encountered negative attitudes of the health care workers and poor service within the public health care facilities. They pointed out that health care providers are often females, which made it difficult to discuss some of their health conditions. In addition, most men indicated that they did not seek health care assistance immediately they felt ill. The study suggests a need for men-friendly health care services. Further health care interventions are required to improve men’s health care seeking behaviour and use of services.