Improving adherence to ante-retroviral treatment for people with harmful alcohol use in Kariobangi, Kenya through participatory research and action
Othieno, Caleb J
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract Background Harmful alcohol use has been linked to the spread of HIV in Kenya. It also adversely affects those on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment through poor compliance. This study using participatory research and action (PRA) methods sought to understand factors related to alcohol abuse and non-adherence and to formulate appropriate interventions in a sample of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) who were also abusing alcohol, at Kariobangi in Nairobi, Kenya. Methods Entry into the community was gained through previous PRA work in that community and PLWHA were recruited through snowballing. Working together with the community members, the researchers explored the participants’ understanding of alcohol use problem, its effects on compliance to ARV treatment and discussed possible action areas through PRA techniques that included focus group and market place discussions; visual aids such as spider diagrams, community mapping and ranking. Follow-up meetings were held to discuss the progress. Results By the final meeting, 67 PLWHA and 19 community members had been recruited. Through discussions, misconceptions regarding alcohol use were identified. It emerged that alcohol abuse was poorly recognised among both the community and health workers. Screening for alcohol use was not routinely done and protocols for managing alcohol related disorders were not available at the local health centres providing ARVs. The study participants identified improving communication, psychoeducation and screening for alcohol use as possible action areas. Poverty was identified as a major problem but the interventions to mitigate this were not easy to implement. Conclusion We propose that PRA could be useful in improving communication between the health workers and the clients attending primary health care (PHC) facilities and can be applied to strengthen involvement of support groups and community health workers in follow up and counselling. Integrating these features into primary health care (PHC) would be important not only to PLWHA but also to other diseases in the PHC setting . Longer term follow up is needed to determine the sustained impact of the interventions. Problems encountered in the PRA work included great expectations at all levels fostered by handouts from other donors and cognitive impairment that interfered with constructive engagement in some of the PLWHA.