Barriers to access to visceral leishmaniasis diagnosis and care among seasonal mobile workers in Western Tigray, Northern Ethiopia: A qualitative study

by Coulborn RM, Gebrehiwot TG, Schneider M, Gerstl S, Adera C, Herrero M, Porten K, den Boer M, Ritmeijer K, Alvar J, Hassen A, Mulugeta A. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2018, doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006778

Summary: Ethiopia bears a high burden of visceral leishmaniasis. However, significant obstacles to diagnosis and care exist, and the approximately 250,000 seasonal mobile workers employed annually in northwestern Ethiopia may be at particular risk of infection and death. This study used qualitative methods (interviews and focus group discussions) to assess barriers to VL diagnosis and care among these workers. Contrary to what health policy for VL dictates in this endemic setting, study participants reported very poor access to diagnosis and, consequently, significantly delayed access to treatment. The authors offer strategies that may increase access to VL diagnosis and care, allowing for earlier treatment and better prognoses for VL patients, and reducing the potential health disparities and the overall burden of VL.

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