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Davidson College

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Kenya: Urbanization, Health, and Human Rights


Chronic illnesses like cancer, HIV, and other non-communicable disease are increasing globally, especially in developing countries, necessitating development of palliative care and symptom management systems. In Kenya, the burden of care for chronically ill patients often falls to unpaid, informal caregivers like family members or friends. Thirty-five current or past informal caregivers from Kisumu, Kenya were interviewed about their experience, challenges they faced, and interventions they felt would be helpful. Major challenges identified included lack of finances for treatment and other living expenses; inadequate, unaffordable, or interrupted medical care; emotional stress exacerbated by juggling many responsibilities, pressure to emotionally support the patient, and personal sacrifice; and persisting stigma and incorrect beliefs about disease transmission. Suggested interventions include government prioritization to ensure effective and accessible medical care, promotion of collectivized income-generating activities, expanded psychological support resources, and inclusion of caregivers into Kenya’s palliative care policies.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Clinical and Medical Social Work | Family, Life Course, and Society | Health Policy | Health Psychology | Medical Sciences | Public Health



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