Spatial patterns of use of health services in the Kingston Metropolitan Area, Jamaica
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This study focuses on the influence of distance, transport and accessibility on the use of health services in Kingston, Jamaica. It reviews various factors affecting the use of health care with particular reference to Third World cities and presents results from a case study of utilization in the Kingston Metropolitan Area. Three pairs of sites of contrasting social status were selected and 50 respondents questioned in each about spatial patterns of primary health care (PHC) attendance. Types of facility attended, mode of transport, travel times, distance and frequency of utilization were discussed. Some distinctive differences appeared between low and high status site respondents with regard to distances to facilities and travel times, which were almost always higher for the low status respondents. Most respondents were not using their nearest facilities, for varying reasons which included, for poorer respondents, need to attend frequently distant public facilities and, for wealthier respondents, loyalty to old family doctors and use of company-related doctors. The mobility of the higher status respondents afforded them considerable choice of locations used for health care and their attendance was much more convenient than that of lower status respondents. Utilization rates were somewhat higher in the high status sites although not to the extent found by some earlier studies in similar settings.
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