Self-rated health (SRH) and healthcare utilization among rural elderly Ghanaians in Kassena-Nankana district
Amon Exavery, Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)
Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch, University of the Witwatersrand
Cornelius Y. Debpuur, Navrongo Health Research Centre
Demographic transition is profoundly ongoing not only in the high-income countries but also in the low- and middle-income ones. The increased healthcare demand is one of the likely consequences of the ageing population. This study examines the effect of SRH on healthcare utilization among the elderly in Kassena-Nankana district. Cross-sectional interview data collected on 594 adults aged ≥50 years in Navrongo HDSS in 2007 were used. SRH status was distributed as 42.5% good, 43.3% moderate and 14.2% poor. Overall healthcare utilization as hospitalizations and out-patient care was 31.5%. Poor SRH is associated with healthcare utilization, independent of chronic diseases, age, cognitive limitations and ever having had an occupation. While SRH emerges as an important indicator of older persons’ need for healthcare, efforts linking those perceiving their health status as poor to healthcare are indeed required, considering that over 55% of those reporting poor health reported no healthcare utilization.