The Household Production of Health A Case Study in Cambodia
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To maximize the utilization of formal healthcare services in developing countries, researchers and health policy makers need to view social and cultural factors as health determinants. This qualitative research explored the health-seeking behaviors and health-related decisions of Cambodian families. Using the Household Production of Health (HHPH) model, it analyzed how Cambodian households improve or impede the health of their members in a culture contextualized by poverty, low health literacy levels, and stigmas. Five Cambodian families were recruited to participate in in-depth semi-structured interviews to answer questions regarding who they consult for health-related advice, where they go for treatments, and what influences their health improvement process. The findings show that in light poverty, most Cambodian families resorted to other health intervention options that might be ineffective and dangerous, as they could not afford formal healthcare services. In addition, lack of understanding of mental health and psychological illnesses significantly impeded Cambodian households from receiving the necessary resources to address the mental health needs of their members. Furthermore, the majority of the participants blindly trusted health information from word of mouth and faced disappointment once they realized the services were ineffective. These findings can inform Cambodian health policy makers to reorient their focus in regards to improving formal medical institutions nationwide.