D Somma

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, BS, Switzerland

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Publications (6)13.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Tuberculosis (TB) control programmes in Bangladesh, India, Malawi and Colombia. Assess indicators of TB-related stigma and socio-cultural and gender-related features of illness associated with stigma. Semi-structured Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue (EMIC) interviews were administered to 100 or more patients at each site, assessing categories of distress, perceived causes and help seeking. Indicators of self-perceived stigma were analysed individually and in a validated index, which was compared across sites and between men and women at each site. Cultural epidemiological explanatory variables for stigma and interactions with female sex were analysed at each site. Qualitative illness narratives were examined to explain the role and context of explanatory variables. The overall stigma index was highest in India, lowest in Malawi and greater for women in Bangladesh. In India and Malawi, women were more likely to be concerned about impact on marital prospects. Associations with HIV/AIDS were linked to TB stigma in Malawi, where sexual contact as a perceived cause was more associated with stigma for men and less for women. Stigma both influences and indicates the effectiveness of TB control. Cultural epidemiological methods clarify cross-cutting and local features of stigma and gender for TB control.
    The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 08/2008; 12(7):856-66. · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: TB control programmes in Bangladesh, India and Malawi. To identify and compare socio-cultural features of tuberculosis (TB) and the distribution of TB-related experiences, meanings and behaviours with reference to gender across cultures in three high-endemic low-income countries. Approximately 100 patients at three sites were interviewed with in-depth semi-structured Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue (EMIC) interviews inquiring about patterns of distress, perceived causes and help-seeking behaviours in the context of illness narratives. Female patients reported more diverse symptoms and men more frequently focused on financial concerns. Most patients reported psychological and emotional distress. Men emphasised smoking and drinking alcohol as causes of TB, and women in Malawi reported sexual causes associated with HIV/AIDS. In Bangladesh, exaggerated concerns about the risk of spread despite treatment contributed to social isolation of women. Public health services were preferred in Malawi, and private doctors in India and Bangladesh. Cross-site analysis of these studies has identified features of TB that influence the burden of disease and are likely to affect timely help seeking and adherence to treatment. Health systems benefit from sex-disaggregated epidemiological data complemented by cultural epidemiological study, which together clarify the role of gender and contribute to the knowledge base for TB control at various levels.
    The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 08/2008; 12(7):837-47. · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tuberculosis (TB) control programmes in Bangladesh, India and Malawi. To compare the interval from symptom onset to diagnosis of TB for men and women, and to assess socio-cultural and gender-related features of illness explaining diagnostic delay. Semi-structured Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue (EMIC) interviews were administered to 100 or more patients at each site, assessing categories of distress, perceived causes and help seeking. Based on time from initial symptoms to diagnosis of TB, patients were classified with problem delay (>90 days), timely diagnosis (< or =30 days) or moderate delay. EMIC interview data were analysed to explain problem delay. The median interval from symptom onset to diagnosis was longest in India and shortest in Malawi. With adjustment for confounding, female sex (Bangladesh), and status of married woman (India) and housewife (Malawi) were associated with problem delay. Prominent non-specific symptoms--chest pain (Bangladesh) and breathlessness (Malawi)--were also significant. Cough in India, widely associated with TB, was associated with timely diagnosis. Sanitation as a perceived cause linked to poor urban conditions was associated with delayed diagnosis in India. Specific prior help seeking with circuitous referral patterns was identified. The study identified gender- and illness-related features of diagnostic delay. Further research distinguishing patient and provider delay is needed.
    The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 07/2008; 12(7):848-55. · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SETTING: TB control programmes in Bangladesh, India and Malawi.OBJECTIVE: To identify and compare socio-cultural features of tuberculosis (TB) and the distribution of TB-related experiences, meanings and behaviours with reference to gender across cultures in three high-endemic low-income countries.DESIGN: Approximately 100 patients at three sites were interviewed with in-depth semi-structured Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue (EMIC) interviews inquiring about patterns of distress, perceived causes and help-seeking behaviours in the context of illness narratives.RESULTS: Female patients reported more diverse symptoms and men more frequently focused on financial concerns. Most patients reported psychological and emotional distress. Men emphasised smoking and drinking alcohol as causes of TB, and women in Malawi reported sexual causes associated with HIV/AIDS. In Bangladesh, exaggerated concerns about the risk of spread despite treatment contributed to social isolation of women. Public health services were preferred in Malawi, and private doctors in India and Bangladesh.CONCLUSION: Cross-site analysis of these studies has identified features of TB that influence the burden of disease and are likely to affect timely help seeking and adherence to treatment. Health systems benefit from sex-disaggregated epidemiological data complemented by cultural epidemiological study, which together clarify the role of gender and contribute to the knowledge base for TB control at various levels.
    The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 06/2008; 12(7):837-847. · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As a feature of many chronic health problems, stigma contributes to a hidden burden of illness. Health-related stigma is typically characterized by social disqualification of individuals and populations who are identified with particular health problems. Another aspect is characterized by social disqualification targeting other features of a person's identity-such as ethnicity, sexual preferences or socio-economic status-which through limited access to services and other social disadvantages result in adverse effects on health. Health professionals therefore have substantial interests in recognizing and mitigating the impact of stigma as both a feature and a cause of many health problems. Rendering historical concepts of stigma as a discrediting physical attribute obsolete, two generations of Goffman-inspired sociological studies have redefined stigma as a socially discrediting situation of individuals. Based on that formulation and to specify health research interests, a working definition of health-related stigma is proposed. It emphasizes the particular features of target health problems and the role of particular social, cultural and economic settings in developing countries. As a practical matter, it relates to various strategies for intervention, which may focus on controlling or treating target health problems with informed health and social policies, countering the disposition of perpetrators to stigmatize, and supporting those who are stigmatized to limit their vulnerability and strengthen their resilience. Our suggestions for health studies of stigma highlight needs for disease- and culture-specific research that serves the interests of international health.
    Psychology Health and Medicine 09/2006; 11(3):277-87. · 1.38 Impact Factor
  • Daryl Somma, Virginia Bond
    Psychology Health and Medicine 09/2006; 11(3):271-6. · 1.38 Impact Factor