25Apr 2017


  • Discipline of Public Health Medicine, Department of Nursing & Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
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Background: Street children in Cameroon do not form part of the national planning, resource allocation and provision of health care services because society often regards them as delinquents, a public nuisance, deviants and prospective criminals. This paper presents self-reported health conditions experienced by street children and explore the challenges they encounter when trying to seek health care in public health care facilities. Objective: The study aimed to identify and describe health problems as well as barriers to access and utilization of health care services by street children in three cities of Cameroon. Method: A cross-sectional study was carried out on a non-probability snowball sample of 399 street children aged 12 to 17 years. Data were collected by means of interpersonal administration of questionnaires and analyzed by uni-variate and bi-variate calculation of frequencies. Results: Street children were highly susceptible to diverse health problems; the common ailments being malaria (92.5%), stomach aches (90.7%), injuries (89.5%), skin diseases (85.0%) and chest pain (75.9%), and with causes involving poor health habits and risky behaviour. Self-medication was very frequent due to constraints in accessing health care services, including economic restrictions, inferior social status, long waiting times and negative attitudes of health service providers. Conclusion: Street children are faced with numerous life-threatening and minor health problems that affect the quality of their lives. They also experience many barriers when they try to access health care services. These issues could be resolved through the development and implementation of intervention policies and integrated and accessible programmes. Since the information presented here was obtained from self-reports, which could result in under- or over-estimation of health conditions, it is recommended that further research include current measurements and tests to confirm diagnoses of the health conditions.

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[Samuel Nambile Cumber and Joyce Mahlako Tsoka-Gwegweni. (2017); HEALTH PROBLEMS AND BARRIERS TO ACCESS AND UTILISATION OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES AMONG STREET CHILDREN IN CAMEROON. Int. J. of Adv. Res. 5 (Apr). 1438-1448] (ISSN 2320-5407). www.journalijar.com

Samuel Nambile Cumber
Discipline of Public Health Medicine, Department of Nursing & Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Article DOI: 10.21474/IJAR01/3965       DOI URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.21474/IJAR01/3965

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