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Community dialogue to enhance understanding of beliefs, behaviours and barriers to care for people living with liver disease and HBV infection in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

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posted on 2024-07-01, 10:27 authored by B Ngwenya, M Anderson, N Mpanza, W Mbokazi, L Zuma, T Khoza, G Sukali, E Waddilove, M Delphin, C Iwuji, N Mhlongo, N Majozi, J Seeley, J Upton, G Harling, PC Matthews, A Edwards
Introduction: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set targets for the elimination of Hepatitis B virus (HBV), which include preventing new infections and reducing deaths. We explored beliefs, behaviours and barriers to diagnosis, prevention and treatment for people living with HBV infection (PLWHB) and those with liver disease in a rural South African population in KwaZulu-Natal, to gather information to inform research and support the development of improved clinical and public health services. Methods: Using an interdisciplinary approach (combining public engagement, social science, clinical and laboratory team members) we conducted a community dialogue with members of the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) Community Advisory Board (CAB). Notes from the discussions were used to write up an account from which themes were identified during a team debrief session for data analysis. Results: There was a lack of knowledge and awareness of HBV infection and transmission and prevention amongst CAB members, also reported among community members and healthcare workers. The participants recognised liver disease symptoms. Perceived causes of liver disease reported by the CAB were alcohol and non-adherence to HIV treatment. Barriers to care included stigma, poverty, and delays in referrals for HBV diagnosis and management. Conclusion: Understanding barriers to care is important to shape future services for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of HBV and liver disease which are accessible, affordable and acceptable to the local population. Education, awareness and advocacy for improved liver health care pathways are required to make them effective for local communities.

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Crick (Grant ID: CC2223, Grant title: Matthews CC2223)

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