Interpretations of education about gene-environment influences on health in rural Ethiopia: the context of a neglected tropical disease

Tora, Abebayehu, Ayode, Desta, Tadele, Getnet, Farrell, David, Davey, Gail and McBride, Colleen M (2016) Interpretations of education about gene-environment influences on health in rural Ethiopia: the context of a neglected tropical disease. International Health, 8 (4). pp. 253-260. ISSN 1876-3413

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Abstract

Background: Misunderstandings of the role of genetics in disease development are associated with stigmatizing behaviors and fatalistic attitudes about prevention. This report describes an evaluation of community understanding of an educational module about genetic and environmental influences on the development of podoconiosis, a neglected tropical disease endemic in highland Ethiopia.

Methods: A qualitative process assessment was conducted as part of a large prospective intervention trial in August 2013, in Wolaita Zone, southern Ethiopia. Sixty five participants were purposively selected from 600 households randomized to receive the inherited susceptibility module. The educational module used pictorial representations and oral explanations of the interaction of inherited sensitivity and soil exposure and was delivered by lay health educators in participants' homes. Data were collected using semi-structured individual interviews (IDIs) or focus group discussions (FGDs).

Results: Qualitative analyses showed that most participants improved their understanding of inherited soil sensitivity and susceptibility to podoconiosis. Participants linked their new understanding to decreased stigma-related attitudes. The module also corrected misconceptions that the condition was contagious, again diminishing stigmatizing attitudes. Lastly, these improvements in understanding increased the perceived value of foot protection.

Conclusions: Taken together, these improvements support the acceptability, feasibility and potential benefits of implementing gene-environment education in low and middle income countries.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Global Health and Infection
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Global Health Policy
Depositing User: Rose McLafferty
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 11:39
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2017 15:13
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/65343

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