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1.  Health-care seeking behaviour among persons with diabetes in Uganda: an interview study 
Background
Healthcare-seeking behaviour in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) has been investigated to a limited extent, and not in developing countries. Switches between different health sectors may interrupt glycaemic control, affecting health. The aim of the study was to explore healthcare-seeking behaviour, including use of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) and traditional healers, in Ugandans diagnosed with DM. Further, to study whether gender influenced healthcare-seeking behaviour.
Methods
This is a descriptive study with a snowball sample from a community in Uganda. Semi-structured interviews were held with 16 women and 8 men, aged 25-70. Data were analysed by qualitative content analysis.
Results
Healthcare was mainly sought among doctors and nurses in the professional sector because of severe symptoms related to DM and/or glycaemic control. Females more often focused on follow-up of DM and chronic pain in joints, while males described fewer problems. Among those who felt that healthcare had failed, most had turned to traditional healers in the folk sector for prescription of herbs or food supplements, more so in women than men. Males more often turned to private for-profit clinics while females more often used free governmental institutions.
Conclusions
Healthcare was mainly sought from nurses and physicians in the professional sector and females used more free-of-charge governmental institutions. Perceived failure in health care to manage DM or related complications led many, particularly women, to seek alternative treatment from CAM practitioners in the folk sector. Living conditions, including healthcare organisation and gender, seemed to influence healthcare seeking, but further studies are needed.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-11
PMCID: PMC3213135  PMID: 21943099
Healthcare-seeking behaviour; Diabetes Mellitus; Complementary Alternative Medicine; Uganda
2.  Zimbabwean diabetics' beliefs about health and illness: an interview study 
Background
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is increasing globally, with the greatest increase in Africa and Asia. In Zimbabwe a threefold increase was shown in the 1990s. Health-related behaviour is important in maintaining health and is determined by individual beliefs about health and illness but has seen little study. The purpose of the study was to explore beliefs about health and illness that might affect self-care practice and health care seeking behaviour in persons diagnosed with DM, living in Zimbabwe.
Methods
Exploratory study. Consecutive sample from a diabetes clinic at a central hospital. Semi-structured interviews were held with 21 persons aged 19-65 years. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Results
Health was described as freedom from disease and well-being, and individual factors such as compliance with advice received and drugs were considered important to promote health. A mixture of causes of DM, predominantly individual factors such as heredity, overweight and wrong diet in combination with supernatural factors such as fate, punishment from God and witchcraft were mentioned. Most respondents did not recognize the symptoms of DM when falling ill but related the problems to other diseases, e.g. HIV, malaria etc. Limited knowledge about DM and the body was indicated. Poor economy was mentioned as harmful to health and a consequence of DM because the need to buy expensive drugs, food and attend check-ups. Self-care was used to a limited extent but if used, a combination of individual measures, household remedies or herbs and religious acts such as prayers and holy water were frequently used, and in some cases health care professionals were consulted.
Conclusions
Limited knowledge about DM, based on beliefs about health and illness including biomedical and traditional explanations related to the influence of supernatural forces, e.g. fate, God etc., were found, which affected patients' self-care and care-seeking behaviour. Strained economy was stated to be a factor of the utmost importance affecting the management of DM and thus health. To develop cost-effective and optimal diabetes care in a country with limited resources, not only educational efforts based on individual beliefs are needed but also considering systemic and structural conditions in order to promote health and to prevent costly consequences of DM.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-10-7
PMCID: PMC2885329  PMID: 20462425

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