Poverty and uncertainties: Next of kin providing care for a close one with HIV in Tanzania.
Abstract: HIV/AIDS is an important health issue worldwide, and in Tanzania the estimated amount of people living with HIV year 2012, was around 1,5 million people. Many of them are living a restricted life at home, leaving the responsibility of care to their next of kin. This leads to a big number of care providers lacking both financial and educational resources, making it difficult to provide care. The aim of this study was to investigate next of kin’s experiences of being a care provider for a relative infected with HIV/AIDS. A qualitative design with semi-structured interviews was chosen and data were analysed using the qualitative content analysis. The result showed that the majority of care providers lived in poverty and experienced a lack of resources, unabling them to give sufficient care to the patients. Many care providers were depending on the support of food, finances and practical help from organizations, neighbours and relatives. Common care providing tasks consisted of helping the patients with their personal hygiene, washing their clothes and bed sheets, cooking, cleaning and looking after the whole family. These chores limited them to attain a sustainable income, leading to a lack of financial security. The lack of security was also amplified by a lack of training in how to give good care. According to WHO, counselling must be offered to patients infected with HIV/AIDS. However, the result in this study shows the importance of including next of kin in the counselling criteria, as they are in need of advice and education in how to give care. Care providers’ commitment to the patients was particularly visible in the lives of women, who chose to put their own future plans aside for the sake of their sick close ones. As limited resources made it difficult to provide good care, more research needs to be done about the need of sustainable support to care providers in Tanzania.
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