Health seeking behaviour and health service utilization in Pakistan: challenging the policy makers

J Public Health (Oxf). 2005 Mar;27(1):49-54. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdh207. Epub 2004 Dec 8.


There is a growing literature on health seeking behaviours and the determinants of health services utilization especially in the context of developing countries. However, very few focused studies have been seen in Pakistan in this regard. This paper presents an extensive literature review of the situation in developing countries and relates the similar factors responsible for shaping up of a health seeking behaviour and health service utilization in Pakistan. The factors determining the health behaviours may be seen in various contexts: physical, socio-economic, cultural and political. Therefore, the utilization of a health care system, public or private, formal or non-formal, may depend on socio-demographic factors, social structures, level of education, cultural beliefs and practices, gender discrimination, status of women, economic and political systems environmental conditions, and the disease pattern and health care system itself. Policy makers need to understand the drivers of health seeking behaviour of the population in an increasingly pluralistic health care system. Also a more concerted effort is required for designing behavioural health promotion campaigns through inter-sectoral collaboration focusing more on disadvantaged segments of the population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Developing Countries
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Pakistan
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Policy Making
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Private Sector
  • Socioeconomic Factors