, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 295–310 | Cite as

The determinants of primary health care utilization: a comparison of three rural clinics in Southern Honduras

  • Jonathan B. Baker
  • Lin Liu
Original Paper


Primary health care utilization is poorly understood in many parts of the developing world. This is especially true in rural places, such as Santa Lucia, Intibuca, Honduras, where there are only three primary health care facilities servicing almost 12,000 people, and generally speaking access to care is limited. This study examines the factors that can be used to explain primary health care utilization, and aims to improve the understanding of patient utilization behavior. A better understanding of utilization can be used by health service planners to improve primary health care delivery in this and similar locations. The findings of this research indicate that utilization can be explained, to a large extent, by factors relating to economic status and walking time to clinic. These findings are consistent with findings from prior research. In addition, a home territory variable is used to examine spatial variations of utilization behavior. This variable has not been considered in previous utilization research, and is found to be a very significant determinant of health facility utilization in the study area.


Access Health services Honduras Central America Rural Utilization 


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The authors are grateful to the following individuals and institutions for their support of this research: Howard Stafford, Andrew Bazemore, Jeff Heck, Chris Carr, Miguel Coello and the staff of Shoulder-to-Shoulder, Inc. and la Clinica Hombro á Hombro. La Secretaria de Estado en los Despachos de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente (SERNA), for making GIS and Honduran Census data files available for use in this project. University of Cincinnati for their financial support of this research through the Graduate Student Governance Association (GSGA); the Institute for Global Studies and Affairs (IGSA); and the University Research Council (URC). Part of this material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0081434. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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