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Searching for solutions: health concerns expressed in letters to an East African newspaper column

Asera, Rosa; Bagarukayo, Henry; Shuey, Dean; Barton, Thomas

Description

This study examined health care questions from an unusual data set: 1252 unsolicited letters written over a three–year period to an advice column in an East African newspaper. Analysis of the letters was a non-intrusive method of ascertaining prevalent health questions and opinions. People wrote seeking information, advice, solutions, and reassurance about health problems. Emotions expressed in the letters ranged from hope to fear and frustration. The written format allowed questions which are...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorAsera, Rosa
dc.contributor.authorBagarukayo, Henry
dc.contributor.authorShuey, Dean
dc.contributor.authorBarton, Thomas
dc.contributor.editorCaldwell, John C.
dc.contributor.editorJain, Shail
dc.date.accessioned2003-03-05
dc.date.accessioned2004-05-19T15:06:09Z
dc.date.accessioned2011-01-05T08:46:02Z
dc.date.available2004-05-19T15:06:09Z
dc.date.available2011-01-05T08:46:02Z
dc.date.created1996
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/41212
dc.identifier.urihttp://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/41212
dc.description.abstractThis study examined health care questions from an unusual data set: 1252 unsolicited letters written over a three–year period to an advice column in an East African newspaper. Analysis of the letters was a non-intrusive method of ascertaining prevalent health questions and opinions. People wrote seeking information, advice, solutions, and reassurance about health problems. Emotions expressed in the letters ranged from hope to fear and frustration. The written format allowed questions which are generally too embarrassing or stigmatized to present in other public or interpersonal settings. More than half the total letters raised questions about sexual behaviour, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS. The letters present not only personal health concerns, but also expectations of health-care quality and reflections on the medical options presently available in Uganda. As a whole, the letters express dissatisfaction not only with the outcomes of health encounters, but with the process. Of the letter writers with specific physical complaints, more than one-third had already sought medical care and were dissatisfied with the results. The letters were seeking solutions, especially for alleviation of symptoms and discomfort. Almost equally prevalent was a plea for accurate and relevant health information; people not only want to feel better, but they also want to understand their own health.
dc.format.extent34130 bytes
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherHealth Transition Centre, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University
dc.subjectHIV/AIDS
dc.subjectSTDs
dc.subjectsexually transmitted diseases
dc.subjecthealth problems
dc.subjectsolutions
dc.subjectUganda
dc.subjectEast Africa
dc.subjectsexual behaviour
dc.subjectsymptoms
dc.subjectdiscomfort
dc.titleSearching for solutions: health concerns expressed in letters to an East African newspaper column
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.refereedno
local.identifier.citationmonthoct
local.identifier.citationnumber2
local.identifier.citationpages169-178
local.identifier.citationpublicationHealth Transition Review
local.identifier.citationvolume6
local.identifier.citationyear1996
local.identifier.eprintid880
local.rights.ispublishedyes
dc.date.issued1996
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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