Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Kaveh Khoshnood

Second Advisor

Mayur M. Desai


In 2014, a mobile pharmacy project was launched to provide accessible and affordable medicines to Yaka hunter-gatherer communities in the Likouala and Sangha regions of the Republic of Congo. This mixed methods study describes the use of available health services by the minority Yaka and the majority Bantu served by the mobile pharmacy and to compare the health-care seeking behavior among these different communities. Overall, 178 households were surveyed about their utilization of available health services and the order in which they seek health services in the event of illness. To provide context to these responses, 18 key informants were interviewed about their perceived health needs and the reasoning behind their care-seeking behavior. Informal discussions were also conducted with household respondents. Among 128 Yaka households surveyed, 90.0% of those who sought care in the previous 12 months for an illness or injury reported seeking traditional treatment, compared to 48.3% of the 49 Bantu households surveyed. The percentage that sought care from medical facilities was similar for both Yaka (67.8%) and Bantu (65.5%) households that reported seeking care in the previous year. About 88.3% of Yaka households seeking care in the timeframe that the mobile pharmacy was operational visited the pharmacy, compared to 71.4% of Bantu households. Although some differences exist between Yaka and Bantu communities in their utilization of available health services and their care-seeking behavior, both groups made decisions for seeking care based on considerations of cost, distance, convenience, and quality of care.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access