Beliefs and attitudes toward Buruli ulcer in Ghana.
Buruli ulcer is a devastating emerging disease in tropical countries. Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained by interviewing patients with this disease and control subjects in Ghana. Common perceived causes were witchcraft and curses. Other reported causes were personal hygiene, environment, and close contact with a patient with this disease. Financial difficulties, fear of the mutilating aspects of treatment, and social stigma were the main reasons found for delay in obtaining treatment. Patients are reluctant to seek treatment outside their own community. Patients often expected medical treatment instead of surgery, and underestimated the duration of hospital admission. The stigma of the disease is huge, and is strongly associated with the mysterious nature of the condition, the lack of knowledge about its mode of transmission, and the lack of proper treatment. Stigma scores were higher in unaffected respondents and in a less endemic location. Education on the disease, usually propagated for early case detection, might be useful in reducing stigma. (+info)
Epilepsy care in Zambia: a study of traditional healers.
PURPOSE: Most people with epilepsy (PWE) reside in developing countries with limited access to medical care. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), traditional healers (THs) play a prominent role in caring for PWE, yet little is known about epilepsy care by THs. We conducted a multimethod, qualitative study to better understand the epilepsy care delivered by THs in Zambia. METHODS: We conducted focus-group discussions with THs, in-depth semistructured interviews with a well-recognized TH at his place of work, and multiple informal interviews with healthcare providers in rural Zambia. RESULTS: THs recognize the same symptoms that a neurologist elicits to characterize seizure onset (e.g., olfactory hallucinations, jacksonian march, automatisms). Although THs acknowledge a familial propensity for some seizures and endorse causes of symptomatic epilepsy, they believe witchcraft plays a central, provocative role in most seizures. Treatment is initiated after the first seizure and usually incorporates certain plant and animal products. Patients who do not experience further seizures are considered cured. Those who do not respond to therapy may be referred to other healers. Signs of concomitant systemic illness are the most common reason for referral to a hospital. As a consequence of this work, our local Epilepsy Care Team has developed a more collaborative relationship with THs in the region. CONCLUSIONS: THs obtain detailed event histories, are treatment focused, and may refer patients who have refractory seizures to therapy to other healers. Under some circumstances, they recognize a role for modern health care and refer patients to the hospital. Given their predominance as care providers for PWE, further understanding of their approach to care is important. Collaborative relationships between physicians and THs are needed if we hope to bridge the treatment gap in SSA. (+info)
Interesting in- and outpatient attendances at Hogwarts Infirmary and St Mungo's Hospital for magical maladies.
Ailments afflicting wizarding folk are underreported in the muggle world. The recent integration of muggles and magical folk with the return of You-Know-Who (aka He Who Must Not Be Named) may result in a similar affliction of inhabitants of both worlds. We describe interesting maladies afflicting muggles and wizarding folk alike, arising from the use and misuse of magic. We also provide a basic glossary of magical ailments, and describe their muggle corollaries. Further studies will hopefully result in the development of immunity against the unforgivable curses. (+info)
Community-based study on knowledge, attitude and practice on the mode of transmission, prevention and treatment of the Buruli ulcer in Ga West District, Ghana.
Buruli ulcer disease (BUD), a devastating tropical disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, occurs in more than 80% of the administrative districts of Ghana. To elucidate community perceptions and understanding of the aetiology of BUD, attitudes towards Buruli patients and treatment-seeking behaviours, we conducted a survey with 504 heads of households and seven focus group discussions in Ga West District, Ghana. Although 67% of participants regarded BUD as a health problem, 53% did not know its cause. Sixteen per cent attributed the cause to drinking non-potable water, 8.1% mentioned poor personal hygiene or dirty surroundings, and 5.5% identified swimming or wading in ponds as a risk factor. About 5.2% thought that witchcraft and curses cause BUD, and 71.8% indicated that BU sufferers first seek treatment from herbalists and only refer to the hospital as a last resort. The main reasons were prospects of prolonged hospital stay, cost of transport, loss of earnings and opportunity associated with parents attending their children's hospitalization over extended period, delays in being attended by medical staff, and not knowing the cause of the disease or required treatment. The level of acceptance of BUD sufferers was high in adults but less so in children. The challenge facing health workers is to break the vicious cycle of poor medical outcomes leading to poor attitudes to hospital treatment in the community. Because herbalists are often the first people consulted by those who contract the disease, they need to be trained in early recognition of the pre-ulcerative stage of Buruli lesions. (+info)
Confronting HIV/AIDS in a South African village: the impact of health-seeking behaviour.
Much social science research on HIV/AIDS focuses on its impact within affected communities and how people try to cope with its consequences. Based on fieldwork in rural South Africa, this article shows ways in which the inhabitants of a village react to illness, in general, and the role their reactions play in facilitating the spread of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS. There is potentially a strong connection between the manner in which people respond to illness in general, and actual transmission of infection. By influencing the way villagers react to episodes of ill health, folk beliefs about illness and illness causation may create avenues for more people to become infected. This suggests that efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic cannot succeed without tackling the effects of folk beliefs. Therefore, in addressing the problem of HIV/AIDS, experts should focus on more than disseminating information about cause and transmission, and promoting abstinence, safe sex, and other technocratic fixes. Our findings suggest that people need information to facilitate not only decision-making about how to self-protect against infection, but also appropriate responses when infection has already occurred. (+info)
Dissociative symptoms and reported trauma among patients with spirit possession and matched healthy controls in Uganda.
Witchcraft in Transkei Region of South African: case report.
Witchcraft and witch-hunt have been practiced widely almost all over the world. It is known as magic in Europe, maleficium (wrong-doing) in Latin America, and superpower in Asia. In Africa those accused of being witches often face execution. A range of accusations are leveled against witches such as causing impotence, turning milk sour, causing disease and death.Three cases are presented here to highlight the issues related to witch craft in Transkei area. The information was given by the next of kin at the time of autopsy. All were elderly women over 50 years of age. The first was related to tuberculosis of the brother of the perpetrator the second, death of the culprit's relative and third the death of culprits brother in Johannesburg. The first and third victims were brutally chopped by axe and in the second it was a firearm injury. The case history, the type of wounds, and medico-legal aspects of death are discussed in these reports. There law related to witchcraft and their implementations to prevent such deaths are discussed. (+info)