The Socio-Economic Impact of Stroke on Households in Southern Zambia
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines stroke as 'the neurological deficit of cerebral vascular cause that persists beyond twenty four hours or is interrupted by death within 24 hours'. In Livingstone, Zambia, more than 30% of stroke victims indicate socio-economic problems. The study aimed at assessing the socio-economic impact of stroke in households in Livingstone district. A total of 50 households were conveniently selected from the Physiotherapy and Community Based Rehabilitation registers of Livingstone General Hospital. Self administered questionnaires and Focus group discussions were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data respectively. The data was analyzed using SPSS and content analysis. The social impacts on the victim were depression, difficult to get along with, resentfulness, apathy, needy, separation, divorce, general marital problems, neglect on the part of the victim and fear. In families, there was low moods and apathy in households. The study also revealed an association between period of stroke and relationship changes (p<0.001). Gender and family relationship changes were highly associated (p<0.001), as more females than males experienced relationship changes. The economic impacts were loss of employment, reduced business activity and loss of business on the part of the victim. Economic activities like food provision, payment of school fees, accommodation were affected as a result of stroke, and this led to financial insecurities in households. The study also showed that the incomes lost were mostly salaries, followed by businesses. Most of the victims experienced economic challenges after stroke with a few of them were receiving economic assistance. The activities forgone by stroke households were food provision, housing, and education in order to accommodate the stroke situation in the households. The results of the study show that stroke has considerable socioeconomic impact on households which can deter the victims' development as well as the household and the nation at large.