The UK charity Sightsavers works with people that have Neglected tropical disease (NTD). The conditions in question impact the lives of more than a billion people around the world. Besides prevention, there is also an urgent need to develop effective treatment plans for people living with the diseases.
A research team from Sightsavers, working in Nigeria, combines medical research and art to raise awareness of the issue. What did they do exactly?
About the Research
The research program led by Martins Imhansoloeva wants to determine what prevents people from gaining treatment for NTDs. This approach aimed to determine the real situation on the field as it is encountered by the patients. Also, the research was done with face-to-face interviews and focus groups. Furthermore, the participants in the study are from the state of Kebbi and Benue.
The research team chose to use a community-based approach in their research. That is, frontline medical workers and patients from the community were trained to help with the interviewing process. This approach is helpful because it gives the researchers direct content with communities that suffer from NTDs.
After the research, several issues came up in the findings. They all tell of the reasons that prevent patients from finding an effective treatment. Furthermore, it is also obvious that living with these conditions impacts the mental health of patients.
Here are the main issues that came up during the research:
- People have a fear that they cannot afford to pay for their treatment, because of this they avoid seeking help.
- Informants spoke about the stigmatization they experience in their daily lives. Mostly this occurs because of superstition and lack of scientific knowledge.
- Sometimes the attitude of health workers prevents people from finding appropriate treatment.
- Many of the informants want their examination done by health workers that are of the same gender as them.
- Furthermore, it is often difficult for the patients to reach the clinic and hospital because it is inaccessible to them. This complaint was especially prevalent among older patients that have difficulties moving.