Survivors' perceptions of public health messages during an Ebola crisis in Liberia and Sierra Leone: An exploratory study

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Abstract

The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone was the largest epidemic of Ebola ever recorded. The healthcare workforce was diminished and exhausted as the region emerged from civil war. Few qualitative, descriptive studies have been conducted to date that concentrate on the voices of Ebola survivors and their perceptions of health messages. In this study, we employed an interpretive, qualitative design to explore participant experiences. Twenty five survivors who had recovered from Ebola were recruited from three villages in Liberia and Sierra Leone in August 2015. Data were collected using semistructured interviews. Data analysis revealed four themes: (i) degrees of mistrust; (ii) messages conflicting with life and culture; (iii) seeing is believing; and (iv) recovery inspires hope. The findings were explored in the context of the relevant literature. The themes highlight the need to develop culturally-appropriate messages, underpinned by a sound understanding of the community and a willingness to work with the culture and trusted leaders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-497
Number of pages6
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Ebola
  • epidemic
  • health message
  • Liberia
  • Qualitative design
  • Sierra Leone
  • survivor

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