Coping Strategies Used by Street Children in the Event of Illness

"This study examined the health seeking behaviours of street children in three municipal districts of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The research was carried out in October 2005 and involved 272 street children, aged 10 to 18 years of age. Findings reveal that street children frequently experience illnesses and injuries, including fever, skin diseases, headaches, respiratory infections, diarrhoea and stomach upsets. However, the majority of children did not use health services. The cost of services and unfriendly attitudes of health workers were the barriers to access most often cited by participants. The children preferred to buy medicine from local shops and pharmacies because it is cheap and saves time, thereby allowing them to focus on income earning activities. Participants were also found to engage in high risk behaviours, including unsafe sex, which increased their risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections."