Assessing psycho-social stressors for chronically infected HCV patients in Egypt
Ammal Metwally, Dalia Elmosalami, Walaa Fouad, Abla Khalifa, Lobna El Etreby and Samia Hemeda
Community Medicine Research centre Department, National Research Center(NRC) -Egypt *Child Health Department-NRC
National Research Centre of Egypt
Background: People with hepatitis C are likely to experience psychological distress related to adjustment issues following diagnosis.
Objectives: The study was conducted to determine the psycho-social stressors accompanying HCV chronic infection. The study focused on immediate and later on reactions to being diagnosed as infected HCV patients. Effects of HCV on disruption of patients` relationships in terms of family relationship and friendship, employment and financial status were assessed. The magnitude of the social stigma was also assessed.
Material and Methods: This study was conducted through a project that was supported financially by the Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF), Egypt, Grant No1774. During this study the subjective experience of people having HCV was explored through a designed questionnaire targeted 540 cases: 359 males and 181 females from ten out of 21 National Treatment References Centres of National Hepatology a Tropical Medicine Research of Ministry of Health (MOH) hospitals. Cases were randomly selected from four different community locations of Egypt representing Upper Egypt, Lower Egypt, the Middle and the Canal areas. The study was conducted along a period of six months from September 2011 to March 2012.
Results: The Study revealed that the financial problems were the commonest problems faced by 75.5% of cases. More than 70% of the patients suffered from immediate sadness versus 67.4% suffered from worry. Meanwhile, 41.1% of HCV cases have the feeling of being dirty immediately after being knowing that they had HCV infection. Social stigma was reported by 13% of HCV patients. Misconception about the mode of the transmission of HCV was reported by 85% of the stigmatized males and females as a cause of feeling stigma.
Conclusions: Exploring the associated psychosocial cosequences of HCV infection can act as pressing motivators for behavior change needed for limiting HCV endemicity in Egypt. Adoption of strategy leading to empowering individuals by acquiring knowledge to create supportive environment should be achieved.
Posted by: Ammal Mokhtar Metwally, Prof. Public Health and Community Medicine, National Research Center, Egypt (25-Jan-2013)