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Accepted Paper:

Women’s experience of podoconiosis during three life stages and the impact of a disease management intervention in Rwanda  
Corinna Thellmann (Brighton and Sussex Medical School) Gemma Aellah (BSMS) Gail Davey (Brighton Sussex Medical School) Papreen Nahar (University of Sussex)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is based on a Ph.D. research study on women who have podoconiosis in the Northern Province of Rwanda. The paper focuses on the connection between temporality, gender, and a disease management intervention for podoconiosis. A woman's life stage determines the impact of the illness.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is based on a Ph.D. research study on women who have podoconiosis in Rwanda. The paper focuses on the connection between temporality, gender, and a disease management intervention for podoconiosis.

Podoconiosis is a Neglected Tropical Disease leading to severe chronic disability affecting social and economic life. In Rwanda, over 6ooo people are affected by podoconiosis. Research points towards women being more than twice as likely to acquire podoconiosis, and podoconiosis disease management interventions being less effective for women. However, the underlying reasons for these findings have not been explored yet. This qualitative study focused on the influence of local circumstances, structural violence, and intersectionality on women’s experiences and engagement with a podoconiosis disease management intervention in the Northern Province of Rwanda. Additionally, the involvement of the women’s families and communities in the care of the illness was investigated.

Vulnerabilities, care, and support received, as well as the impact of podoconiosis differ depending on a woman’s life stage at the point of developing symptoms. Taking part in the intervention seems to reverse and reduce the future impact of the illness on women’s lives depending on the life stage they are in. Families and communities seem to be the most supportive when podoconiosis develops in older age. However, challenges due to podoconiosis get worse at this life stage as many women experience additional age-related health, social, and economic issues. Regularly taking part in the intervention in old age mainly reduces the impact of podoconiosis symptoms and pain.

Panel OP087
The intersectionality of anthropology, ageing, and disability studies [Medical Anthropology Europe (MAE)]
  Session 1