liu.seSearch for publications in DiVA
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Zimbabwean diabetics' beliefs about health and illness: an interview study
School of Health and Caring Sciences, Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden.
Department of Health Sciences, Zimbabwe Open University, Harare, Zimbabwe.
2010 (English)In: BMC International Health and Human Rights, ISSN 1472-698X, Vol. 10, 7- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London, UK: BioMed Central, 2010. Vol. 10, 7- p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-101476DOI: 10.1186/1472-698X-10-7ISI: 000289980100001PubMedID: 20462425OAI: diva2:666362
Available from: 2013-11-22 Created: 2013-11-22 Last updated: 2014-12-03Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(364 kB)48 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 364 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full textPubMed

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Hjelm, Katarina
In the same journal
BMC International Health and Human Rights
Medical and Health Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 48 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 51 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link