Health Literacy on Cholera: A Qualitative Examination of Social Context of Health Decision-Making and Access to Health Information in James Town, Accra.

Authors: Raymond Tutu*, Delaware State University, Sangeeta Gupta, Delaware State University, Janice Desire Busingye, Kampala International University
Topics: Africa, Geography and Urban Health, Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: Health Literacy, Ghana, Africa, Cholera, Foodborne Diseases, Informal Settlements
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Cleveland 1, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Globally, foodborne diseases are responsible for both in-patient and outpatient morbidity. In less developed countries, diarrheal diseases continue to be a leading cause of mortality among children under five; and Ghana is no exception. The country experiences high incidence of foodborne illnesses every year. Chief among these illnesses are cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. Recent studies in Ghana have sought to comprehend factors accountable for foodborne diseases; food safety perception among consumers; functional, interactive, and critical health literacy of consumers; and the patterns of foodborne diseases. However, there is paucity of qualitative information on health literacy of urban poor. Drawing on the World Health Organization’s framework on assessing health literacy in low-to-middle income countries, we examined: (1) the social (household) context of health-related decision-making regarding cholera; specifically, we explored the extent to which households discuss cholera, and household members’ adherence to suggestions on cholera prevention; and (2) access to health information on cholera. In-depth interviews were conducted with 35 household-head residents. Thematic and content analyses were undertaken. The results show that, for household that do not discuss cholera at all, the emergent themes were: (a) the perceived responsibility of health professionals, (b) perceived lack of household cohesion, and (c) work responsibilities. With households that discussed cholera, the emergent themes included: (a) role of cholera outbreaks, (b) perceived role of mass media (c) perception of prioritizing health, and (d) child safety. Cholera information-seeking behavior was woeful. We conclude that health education programs may decide to encourage household discussions and health information-seeking behavior.

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