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J Health Psychol. 2004 Mar;9(2):295-309.

Strengthening quality and continuity of diabetes care in rural ghana: a critical social psychological approach.

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  • 1Department of Social Psychology, London School of Economic and Political Science, UK.


Adopting critical social psychology and community psychology perspectives, this article examines the links between shared social knowledge of diabetes, illness experience and illness action through semi-structured individual and group interviews with diabetes sufferers and lay healthy individuals in two rural Ghanaian communities. Analysis highlights that both groups make sense of diabetes and illness experience by drawing interchangeably from four shared knowledge modalities: common-sense, scientized, religious and emotional. Common-sense notions of health and illness and scientized understandings of diabetes frame illness action goals that merge with biomedical goals. These goals are compromised by structural, community/family and emotional dynamics. Findings suggest that the best immediate solutions lie in addressing availability and cost of biomedical care and quality food, with concomitant attention to community education and self-help groups as negotiators of psychosocial and economic support.

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