Community perceptions of barriers to stroke recovery and prevention in greater Kampala, Uganda: Implications for policy and practice

Carol Blixen, Jane Nakibuuka, Mark Kaddumukasa, Haddy Nalubwama, Mathew Amollo, Elly Katabira, Martha Sajatovic


Objective: Stroke risk and stroke burden are increasing in Sub Saharan Africa. Qualitative analysis was used to assess perceived barriers to stroke recovery and prevention in an urban/suburban Ugandan population in order to refine and implement a promising nurse and peer-led self-management intervention previously conducted in the United States.

Methods: In depth interviews and focus groups were conducted with 48 participants (stroke survivors, caretakers, and those at risk for stroke). All interviews and focus groups were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using content analysis, with an emphasis on dominant themes.

Results: Three major domains of perceived barriers to stroke recovery and prevention emerged from the data: (1) Individual barriers (PTSD, stress, resistance to seeking care, medication non-adherence, unhealthy lifestyles, functional impairment, and a paucity of stroke knowledge); (2) Family/community barriers (lack of family and community support and caretaker burden); and (3) Provider and healthcare system barriers (lack of access and inadequate follow-up). Importantly, participants in this study identified a pressing need for increasing stroke awareness in the community as part of recovery and prevention efforts.

Conclusions: Stroke risk reduction efforts implemented at the patient, community, and healthcare system levels are needed. These efforts could, perhaps, be modeled along the lines of a previous very successful public health initiative to reduce HIV burden in Uganda.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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