Guinea worm: An in-depth study of what happens to mothers, families and communities

Susan J. Watts, William R Brieger, May Yacoob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper reports on the impact of maternal morbidity due to guinea worm, dracunculiasis, on the care and health of children under 24 months old, and the ways in which the mothers and the family coped with the often extended periods of disability. This qualitative study is based on observation and in-depth interviewing, supplemented by focus group discussions. Of 42 mothers with guinea worm in two hyperendemic areas of Oyo and Kwara States, 28 were either bedridden or only able to hobble short distances with the help of a stick; the average period of incapacity was almost 9 weeks. Of the four maternal roles identified (child care, self care, domestic tasks, income generation), the women gave priority to child care; 34 of the 42 mothers needed help in child care. Coping networks operated principally within the extended family, but also included women in other households, and women from beyond the community. Thus the impact of a mother's illness extended beyond her children and family to the wider community. This qualitative study thus reveals the multifaceted impact of a disease on individuals and on the community. The study stresses the need for, and availability of, effective methods for controlling guinea worm by utilizing community cooperation to provide protected water sources and other preventive measures against the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1049
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume29
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dracunculus Nematode
child care
Guinea
Mothers
Child Care
dracunculiasis
community
disability
morbidity
Disease
extended family
Dracunculiasis
income
group discussion
coping
illness
Self Care
Focus Groups
water
woman

Keywords

  • coping networks
  • guinea worm
  • maternal morbidity
  • maternal roles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Health(social science)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Guinea worm : An in-depth study of what happens to mothers, families and communities. / Watts, Susan J.; Brieger, William R; Yacoob, May.

In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 29, No. 9, 1989, p. 1043-1049.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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