Ibrar Rafique, Muhammad Arif Nadeem Saqib, Shajee Siddiqui, Muhammad Arif Munir, Iftikhar Ahmed Malik, Najma Javed, Sumera Naz, Huma Qureshi.
Assessment of attitude, an insight from hepatitis patients and their relatives/ attendants of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Pak J Med Res Jul ;56(1):7-11.

Background: Pakistan is the 2nd highest hepatitis C prevalent country while hepatitis B endemnicity is intermediate. Population has poor knowledge and understanding of these diseases therefore they face different types of stigmas. Stigmatization leads to barriers in the access of prevention and care of this disease. This study was conducted to evaluate the feelings and experiences of patients and their attendants (relatives) about hepatitis B and C and identify the gaps to ease access to treatment and care. Study design, settings and duration: Qualitative study conducted in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences and Federal Government Services Hospital, Islamabad for 08 months. Patients and Methods: Patients suffering from hepatitis B and C and their relatives who came to the OPDs of PIMS and Polyclinic were selected from the study. After taking consent from these 2 hospitals and consent from participants, the patients and relatives were grouped into 4 groups each comprising of 5-8 participants. Four focus group discussions (FGD’s) were conducted for these patients and their attendants separately. Structured FGD guide was developed and special probes were used to stimulate discussion. Results: There were 06 participants in each of patient group and 07 subjects in relative groups. Among patients, majority had negative perceptions about disease and related the disease with fear. They had misconceptions about disease spread. Most of them experienced change in the attitude of family members, relatives and friends especially in sharing clothes, shoes, and utensils. Break up of relationships and discrimination in getting a job due to the disease was also reported resulting in social and financial problems. The attendants also had negative perception about the disease and its mode of transmission. Although they were cautious about the sharing of utensils and during patient care but they had positive feeling for their patient. Conclusion: Due to misconception about disease spread, the attendants/relatives were not sharing items of daily use items like cloths, crockery and bed linen with the patients thus giving them a feeling of dejection. Proper information about disease spread and its prevention along with the counseling of the patients and their attendants/relatives may build a positive relationship between them and thus ease help and care which is required for these patients. Policy message: There is need of public awareness about mode of transmission of hepatitis B and C and its preventive measures. Key words: Hepatitis, perception, behavior, attitude.

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