Publication
Title
From health advice to taboo : community perspectives on the treatment of sleeping sickness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a qualitative study
Author
Abstract
Background Socio-cultural and economic factors constitute real barriers for uptake of screening and treatment of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Better understanding and addressing these barriers may enhance the effectiveness of HAT control. Methods We performed a qualitative study consisting of semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions in the Bandundu and Kasai Oriental provinces, two provinces lagging behind in the HAT elimination effort. Our study population included current and former HAT patients, as well as healthcare providers and program managers of the national HAT control program. All interviews and discussions were voice recorded on a digital device and data were analysed with the ATLAS.ti software. Findings Health workers and community members quoted a number of prohibitions that have to be respected for six months after HAT treatment: no work, no sexual intercourse, no hot food, not walking in the sun. Violating these restrictions is believed to cause serious, and sometimes deadly, complications. These strong prohibitions are well-known by the community and lead some people to avoid HAT screening campaigns, for fear of having to observe such taboos in case of diagnosis. Discussion The restrictions originally aimed to mitigate the severe adverse effects of the melarsoprol regimen, but are not evidence-based and became obsolete with the new safer drugs. Correct health information regarding HAT treatment is essential. Health providers should address the perspective of the community in a constant dialogue to keep abreast of unintended transformations of meaning.
Language
English
Source (journal)
PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES
Publication
2015
Volume/pages
9:4(2015), 14 p.
Article Reference
e0003686
ISI
000354972200038
Medium
E-only publicatie
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 02.07.2015
Last edited 13.11.2017
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