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Women with epilepsy in rural southern India often do not receive anti-epilepsy drugs (AEDs) or take these drugs regularly, but little is known about how they experience the epilepsy treatment they do receive. The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth description of the treatment experiences of women in this region who had been diagnosed with epilepsy but who do not consistently take AEDs. Focused ethnography was conducted using participant observation and in-depth interviews with six women with epilepsy, eight of their family members, and two traditional healers. The women’s treatment experiences are best described as living at the intersection of Western allopathic (“English”) medicine and traditional healing practices—approaches that could be complementary or conflicting. The women revealed a variety of perceived barriers to the use of “English” medicine. Health care professionals should appreciate the dynamic interplay of the two treatment approaches and consider all cultural, social, and economic factors that influence the women’s treatment experiences.
Epilepsy Treatment Gap, Barriers to Treatment, Treatment Decision, Indigenous Health Care, Ethnography, South India
University of Virginia Global Health Scholar award and the Skinner Scholarship funded this study. This publication was supported by the 5T32 NR007066 award from the National Institute of Nursing Research. Its contents are the responsibility of the authors only and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NINR or the NIH.
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Recommended APA Citation
von Gaudecker, J. R., Taylor, A. G., Buelow, J. M., Benjamin, S., & Draucker, C. B. (2019). Women’s Experiences with Epilepsy Treatment in Southern India: A Focused Ethnography. The Qualitative Report, 24(5), 1034-1051. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3481
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