/ Forschung

“It is difficult for us to treat their pain”. Health professionals’ perceptions of Somali pastoralists in the context of pain management: a conceptual model

New article by Piet van Eeuwijk and colleagues

Pain is one of the most neglected areas of care in sub-Saharan Africa.Access to adequate pain managementis important, especially in marginalised populations, such as pastoralists. Little is known about health professionals’ perceptions of pain-related care for Somali pastoralists. This study seeks to understand health professionals’perceptions of Somali pastoralist in the context of pain management in Eastern Ethiopia. Within the scope of this qualitative multicentre study, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 17 health professionals (mainly nurses) experienced in treating Somali pastoralists with pain. Data analysis was based on the coding paradigm proposed by Strauss and Corbin within Grounded Theory methodology and resulted in a conceptual model of pastoralist-specific pain management.

We gave voice to pastoralists in the study design, for example, through focus group discussions conducted prior to this study. Our study is part of a larger ongoing research project involving health professionals and pastoralist communities. The perspective of pastoralists is explored in a consecutive study. ’Patient-professional relationship’ was the core category we identified within the conceptual model. This category was closely linked with issues of ’(mis)trust’ and ’communication (barriers)’. ’Patient-related conditions’ (eg, (under)-reporting of pain, care preferences and beliefs) and ’health professional-related’conditions’ (eg, insufficient training, (under)exposure to localculture) had an influence on the core category. Contextual factors proved to be relevant as well, such as age and gender. The study highlights the complexity of pain management among marginalised communities, such as pastoralists. Health professionals perceive Somali pastoralists to have distinct illness beliefs and pain concepts influencing their health-seeking behaviour. The study highlights the importance of reaching this patient group with culturally acceptable and comprehensive pain management strategies.