“They Say It Has No Cure”: Illness Narratives of Diabetes Patients in Uganda
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Chronic diseases such as diabetes are regarded as one of the most challengingglobal health issues of the 21st century. Especially the Global South isnow facing a situation in which it has to tackle the so-called double burdenof diseases, struggling with infectious diseases and non-communicable diseasesat the same time. As opposed to acute diseases where the treatment islimited to a certain time span, chronic diseases often require life-longtreatment and regular medical surveillance. This means that patients are inconstant need of medicines and medical supervision and have to adjust oldhabits to the new requirements of a life with a chronic disease. Taking thesituation of diabetes patients in Uganda as point of departure, this thesisdemonstrates that both structural factors and personal experiences of patientshave to be taken into account when studying chronic diseases. Structuralfactors include access to health care, medication, equipment at hospitalsand economic status. Personal experiences involve the possibilities andresources individuals have to cope with the certainty of being ill for life.Individuals affected are in need of reordering their ruptured lives caused bya chronic condition. Illness narratives of diabetes patients will function asthe main concept giving very personal insights into how patients experienceand handle the chronic condition. Furthermore this thesis shows thatcontrol and uncertainty play a major role when it comes to dealing with diabetesin Uganda. Diabetics live in constant uncertainty as they try to controland manage a chronic condition in a health care system that is orientedtowards acute conditions. Patients are confronted with uncertainty when thevital medication is unavailable at the dispensaries; they face uncertainty notknowing how the disease will develop, and they face an uncertain future.This thesis is based on three months of anthropological fieldwork in Ugandabetween September and December 2012, conducted in four differenthospital settings using interviews and observations as the main methodologicaltools.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 129 p.
Masteruppsatser i kulturantropologi, ISSN 1653-2244 ; 44
Diabetes Mellitus, Uganda, illness narratives, chronic disease, uncertainty, medical anthropology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-212405OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-212405DiVA: diva2:677688
Masters in Humanities, Cultural Anthropology