Perceptions And Management of Diabetes in Senegalese Diabetics and Their Family Caregivers

Open Access
Canagarajah, Phoebe Nivedhana
Area of Honors:
Biobehavioral Health
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Rhonda BeLue, Thesis Supervisor
  • David John Vandenbergh, Honors Advisor
  • Senegal
  • diabetes
  • caregivers
  • family
  • family systems
  • Africa
As of 2014, according to the International Diabetes Foundation, 21.5 million people in Africa were diabetics, with the number projected to increase to 41.5 million by 2035. Additionally, studies have found that family heavily impacts chronic disease management in Sub-Saharan Africa (Airhihenbuwa, 2007; Casale, 2014), including in Senegal, the focus of this study. Family involvement in disease management improves health-seeking behavior in patients (Aikins, 2005), and provides an important source of support. This qualitative study examined perceptions of diabetes management among 20 Senegalese diabetic patients and their selected family caregivers. Interviews gathered demographic data, such as age and duration of diabetes, and also asked open-ended questions related to diabetes’ impact on participants and their diabetes management ability. Caregivers were asked how caregiving impacted their own health and motivation to prevent diabetes. Interviews with diabetic patients revealed that they rely on family members to help them manage their disease, which included taking the patients to appointments, preparing food, and buying food and/or medications. Many diabetics revealed that their disease was difficult to manage because they lacked needed finances. Caregivers did not have any additional stress from taking care of their diabetic family member. A majority of caregivers also reported that they did not feel additionally motivated to prevent diabetes development, despite being at increased risk for developing diabetes. These findings have implications for diabetes-related interventions in both Senegal and the United States. These implications include the potential benefit of family-based interventions and education services to prevent diabetes, and the need to include caregivers in conversations and decisions about treatment and management.