Predictors of health care use by adults 50 years and over in a rural South African setting

Soter Ameh*, Francesc Xavier Gomez-Olive, Kathleen Kahn, Stephen M. Tollman, Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: South Africa's epidemiological transition is characterised by an increasing burden of chronic communicable and non-communicable diseases. However, little is known about predictors of health care use (HCU) for the prevention and control of chronic diseases among older adults.

Objective: To describe reported health problems and determine predictors of HCU by adults aged 50+ living in a rural sub-district of South Africa.

Design: A cross-sectional study to measure HCU was conducted in 2010 in the Agincourt sub-district of Mpumalanga Province, an area underpinned by a robust health and demographic surveillance system. HCU, socio-demographic variables, reception of social grants, and type of medical aid were measured, and compared between responders who used health care services with those who did not. Predictors of HCU were determined by binary logistic regression adjusted for socio-demographic variables.

Results: Seventy-five percent of the eligible adults aged 50+ responded to the survey. Average age of the targeted 7,870 older adults was 66 years (95% CI: 65.3, 65.8), and there were more women than men (70% vs. 30%, p

Conclusion: Chronic communicable and non-communicable diseases were the most prevalent and main predictors of HCU in this population, suggesting prioritisation of public health care services for chronic diseases among older people in this rural setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Health Action
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • older adults
  • chronic diseases
  • predictors
  • health care use
  • Agincourt
  • South Africa
  • HIV


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