Health-Seeking Behaviour towards Poverty-Related Disease (PRDs): A Qualitative Study of People Living in Camps and on Campuses in Cameroon

Valerie Dione Makoge Epse Forbin*, H. Maat, L. Vaandrager, M.A. Koelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Poverty-Related Diseases (PRDs) emphasize poverty as a ‘breeding-ground’ for a range of diseases. The study presented here starts from the premise that poverty is a general condition that can limit people’s capacity to prevent, mitigate or treat diseases. Using an interpretation of health seeking behaviour (HSB), inspired by the salutogenic approach, we investigated how people deal with PRDs, their ability and strategies put in place to cope. We collected HSB data from two groups of respondents in Cameroon: labourers of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) living in settlements called camps and students of the state universities of Buea and Yaoundé living in settlements we refer to as campuses. By selecting these groups, the study offers a unique view of how different people cope with similar health challenges. We carried out semi-structured interviews with 21 camp dwellers and 21 students in a cross-sectional study. Our findings revealed 1) respondents use multiple resources to cope with PRDs. 2) Respondents’ perceptions of diseases and connection with poverty closely ties to general hygienic conditions of their living environment. 3) Utilisation of health facilities is not strongly dependent on financial resources. 4) Volatile health facilities are a major challenge and reason for people to revert to other health resources. The study brings out the need for organisations (governmental and non-governmental) to strengthen people’s capacities to cope with health situations through better health and housing policies geared at incorporating practices currently used by the people and supporting pro-hygienic initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0005218
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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