Role of inclusive self-help groups in prevention and management of diabetes and hypertension in Myanmar: a qualitative study
Keywords:Hypertension, Diabetes, Myanmar, Qualitative, Inclusive self-help groups
Background: Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are a growing public health concern in Myanmar. Community-based self-help groups are essential for participating in health-related activities. However, little is known about the role of inclusive self-help groups (ISHG) in hypertension and diabetes management. This study aimed to assess knowledge and perception of health-related activities of ISHG and explore challenges ISHG group members encountered in performing hypertension and diabetes prevention and management activities.
Methods: The study included six townships from three different regions of Myanmar, where ISHG existed. Two focus group discussions (FGDs) were held in each township. A total of twelve FGDs were conducted. All discussions were conducted, audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim in Myanmar language. A thematic analysis was performed using inductive and deductive approaches.
Results: The findings revealed that ISHG members provided advice and counselling on behavioural risk factors for hypertension and diabetes prevention and screenings for those diseases. They also offered home care for the elderly and stroke patients who required their assistance. Community members regarded ISHG as a valuable community structure. Members of the ISHG identified a number of challenges, including lack of resources (funding, manpower, and time), lack of confidence, and lack of recognition and acceptance. Support and strengthening activities by local authorities and the government were critical to sustain ISHG's activities and efforts.
Conclusions: Hypertension and diabetes management activities of ISHG are appreciative. The public and government should recognize and support ISHG to strengthen their community activities.
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