Towards a Person-Centered Healthcare System: Experience, Voice and Needs of People Living with Type 2 Diabetes Among the Black Sub-Saharan African Communities in the UK

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Damilola OYEWOLE, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes as a multifaceted public health issue has become a growing health problem, particularly among people from the Black sub-Saharan African (BsSA) communities. However, preventive treatment measures and management of this condition in these groups remain fragmented due to lack of consideration of the role of cultural values and beliefs on health-seeking practices. Cultural beliefs significantly influence individual’s health-seeking behaviours, which consequently can have considerable implications on how they interpret treatments, self-manage their condition and engage with medical regimens. African health-seeking behaviours and choices of treatment are embedded in their cultural background and beliefs, often creating disengagement with formal health care and services. When such situation arises, they seek treatment from both conventional and unconventional care systems, which further reflect the impact of socio-cultural factors.

This study presents the narratives from 22 BsSA living with type 2 diabetes and 10 healthcare providers. The findings suggest that the experiences, perceptions and treatment goals vary among the BsSA communities. People seek treatment approaches that they trust and found to be liveable, manageable and efficient. Thus, they develop systems of self-management and healing suitable for their beliefs, values and personal priorities. Self-management play a significant role in the overall management of type 2 diabetes because it directly contributes to the effectiveness of other biomedical treatments and management measures. The study sheds light on the cultural strengths and synergic roles of people’s narratives in their healing process in achieving optimal health outcomes. Developing engagement tools that are firmly grounded in individual perspectives, experience and identity could facilitate the development of culturally appropriate interventions to modify beliefs and support management behaviours among these communities.