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Father’s roles and perspectives on healthcare seeking for children with pneumonia: findings of a qualitative study in a rural community of the Philippines
  1. Mari Sato1,
  2. Hitoshi Oshitani2,
  3. Raita Tamaki3,
  4. Nobuko Oyamada1,
  5. Kineko Sato1,
  6. Alkaff Raihana Nadra2,
  7. Jhoys Landicho4,
  8. Portia P Alday4,
  9. Socorro Lupisan5,
  10. Veronica L Tallo4
  1. 1 Department of Maternal Nursing, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan
  2. 2 Department of Virology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan
  3. 3 Department of Life and Creative Sciences, Nagasaki Women’s Junior College, Nagasaki, Japan
  4. 4 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatics, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Muntinlupa, Philippines
  5. 5 Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Muntinlupa City, Philippines
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mari Sato; mari.sato{at}


Objectives Pneumonia remains a primary cause of death for under-five children. It is possible to reduce the mortality impact from childhood pneumonia if caregivers recognise the danger signs of pneumonia and obtain appropriate healthcare. Among caregivers, research on fathers’ healthcare-seeking behaviours and perceptions are limited, whereas research on mothers is available. This study aims to reveal fathers’ roles and perspectives with respect to the selection of care and treatment for children with pneumonia in a remote island of the Philippines.

Design A qualitative research was carried out using semistructured interviews.

Setting and participants The interviews were conducted with 12 fathers whose children had pneumonia-like episodes in the 6 months prior to the interview. Data analysis was performed using the concept analysis method to identify codes which were merged into subcategories and categories. Finally, the themes were identified.

Results Three themes were identified as part of fathers’ roles, and two were identified as fathers’ perspectives on various treatment options. Fathers took care of their sick children by not entrusting care only to mothers because they considered this as part of their role. Notably, fathers considered that arranging money for the child’s treatment was a matter of prime importance. They selected a particular treatment based on their experiences and beliefs, including herbal medicine, home treatment, and visiting traditional healers and health facilities. Their decision was influenced by not only their perception of the severity of illness but also cultural beliefs on the cause of illness. Visiting health facilities, particularly during hospital admissions, causes significant financial burden for the family which was the main concern of fathers.

Conclusion It is crucial to consider the cultural background and also imperative to address issues related to medical cost and the credibility of health facilities to improve fathers’ healthcare-seeking behaviour.

  • health services research
  • pneumonia
  • qualitative study
  • child health

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  • Contributors MS, ARN and HO were involved in the conception and design of the study. MS and RT carried out the acquisition of data. MS, NO, KS and HO conducted data analysis and interpretation. JL, PPA, SL and RT provided background information on the study site. VLT critically revised the manuscript for important cultural and intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This study was conducted with financial support from The Konosuke Matsushita Memorial Foundation, JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number17K09189, Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under Grant Number JP16jm0110001, and Tohoku University Center for Gender Equality Promotion.

  • Disclaimer The funding authorities had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethics Committee of Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicines (No. 2014-1-790), the Institutional Review Board of Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippines (No. 2016-25).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Anonymised interview transcripts can be made available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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