Experiences of people affected by rabies in Ethekwini district in the province of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
Background: South Africa is one of the countries in Africa adversely affected by rabies, a notifiable disease which can be fatal. Fatalities can be prevented if health care is sought timeously and people are educated about the disease. The Province of Kwa- Zulu-Natal, in particular, has had rabies outbreaks in the past which have led to loss of many lives and devastation of entire families.
Objective: The aim of the study was to explore the experiences of people affected by rabies in the eThekwini district of Kwa- Zulu-Natal, South Africa.
Methods: The study was guided by a qualitative, exploratory, descriptive design. The sample was purposively selected, and a semi-structured interview was used to collect data from people affected by rabies in the eThekwini district. Data saturation was reached after 12 participants were interviewed. Data was analysed by using Tesch’s eight steps of thematic analysis.
Results: The themes included family stability and support structures, exposure to risk factors and risky practices, factors that hindered participants from seeking health care assistance, limited knowledge about rabies and the effects of rabies.
Conclusion: It was evident that participants experienced many challenges during their rabies exposure. Individuals, who were directly affected by rabies through contact with rabid animals, were expected to take responsibility for their own lives.
Keywords: Rabies; South Africa; qualitative research.
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