Danger signs of acute respiratory tract infections in under-five children: awareness among mothers in the urban slums of Hyderabad, its relation to treatment seeking behaviour

Sairam Challa, Varsha Krosuri


Background: Sustainable development goals (SDGs) proposes to all countries an aim to reduce under-five mortality to 25 per 1000 live births by 2030. Acute respiratory tract infections including pneumonia are the leading cause of death among the children less than five years in India. Identification of severe respiratory infections from non-severe forms necessitates that care-givers, especially mothers are aware of danger signs. An attempt is made to study the awareness of danger signs among the Mothers and see its relation to treatment seeking behaviour.

Methods: Community based cross-sectional survey was conducted involving 344 mothers of under-five children living in the urban slums of Hyderabad.

Results: The awareness of mothers about the danger signs of ARI is poor. Very few knew that fast breathing (11 percent), wheezing (4.7 percent), convulsions (1 percent), lethargy (1 percent) are major danger signs of ARI requiring urgent medical attention. A majority of mothers took the child with ARI to private hospital (42 percent) while few approached Govt. Hospital or dispensary (4.7 percent). Many mothers (77 percent) were aware that vaccination against diseases might protect the children against ARIs. The prevalence of acute respiratory infections among the children in the current study (59.3 percent) is much higher that previous studies elsewhere.

Conclusions: A very high proportion (44 percent) of the mothers were ignorant of any danger sign of ARI. The significant association between awareness and positive health care seeking behaviours, like consulting allopathic doctor or govt. hospital or private hospital establishes the evidence that awareness levels are the prerequisite for the positive health care behaviour.


Danger signs, ARI, Awareness, Mothers, Pneumonia, Under fives

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