Original Research

Caregivers’ health-seeking behaviour for children participating in an integrated school health programme in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Gbotemi B. Babatunde, Olagoke Akintola
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 15, No 1 | a3822 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v15i1.3822 | © 2023 Gbotemi B. Babatunde, Olagoke Akintola | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 August 2022 | Published: 17 February 2023

About the author(s)

Gbotemi B. Babatunde, School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Olagoke Akintola, School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


Background: Caregivers are active members of the healthcare team, and the uniqueness of their role in caring for a sick child is holistic, as no other healthcare team member is consistently aware of all the facets of the child’s life. The integrated school health programme (ISHP) aims to improve access to healthcare services and promote equity for school-going children by delivering comprehensive healthcare services. However, not much attention has been paid to understanding caregivers’ health-seeking experiences within the context of the ISHP.

Aim: This study sought to understand caregivers’ health-seeking behaviour for their children participating in the ISHP.

Setting: Three low-resource communities were chosen within the eThekwini District of the KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa.

Methods: This study utilised a qualitative research design. We recruited 17 caregivers using purposive sampling. Semistructured interviews were conducted, and the data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Caregivers explored multiple means of care, ranging from managing the children’s health conditions based on previous experiences to visiting traditional healers and administering traditional medicines. Caregivers delayed health seeking due to low literacy levels and financial barriers.

Conclusion: Although ISHP has expanded its coverage and the range of services provided, the study suggests the need to implement interventions focused on providing support to caregivers of sick children within the ISHP context.

Contribution: The findings of the study highlight the need to develop potential schemes to address transportation barriers to accessing healthcare services for school-going children.


access; caregivers; school-going children; school-based healthcare services; school health programme; integrated school health policy; low-resource communities; South Africa.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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