Determinants of demand for health care services in rural Zimbabwe: A case of Bikita District, Masvingo Province
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The study investigated the determinants of demand for health care services in rural Zimbabwe using household data from Bikita District in Masvingo Province. Specifically the study examined the influence of socio- economic and institutional factors such as household income, household size, distance to the nearest health centre and availability of drugs on the probability of seeking of health care from health facilities. From 15 wards which were selected for the survey, 250 households were randomly selected and interviewed. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data between January and February 2013. The study used a logit model to find the determinants of demand for health care services based on 176 households that had reported illness of a member within the last three months before the survey. The study revealed the statistical significance of severity of illness, household size, education of the household head, household income, distance to the nearest health facility and availability of rugs as determinants of demand for health care services. Distance to the nearest health facility and household size were found to negatively affect the demand for health care services whereas household income and availability of drugs were found to positively influence demand for health car e services. To increase the demand for health care services, the study recommends policies that aim to shorten the distance people travel to health facilities such as introducing community based mobile clinics. Other major recommendations of the study include increasing government funding to rural health facilities so as to ensure the availability of drugs and implementing income generating projects to improve rural household incomes.