“We can’t handle things we don’t know about”: perceived neurorehabilitation challenges for Malawian paediatric cerebral malaria survivors
Mboma, Sebastian M.
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Background: We sought to identify perceptions of neurorehabilitation challenges for paediatric cerebral malaria (CM) survivors post-hospital discharge at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, Malawi. Methods: An exploratory approach was used to qualitatively investigate the perceived neurorehabilitation challenges for paediatric CM survivors. Data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs). Eighteen data-gathering sessions were conducted with 38 total participants, including 3 FGDs with 23 primary caregivers, 11 IDIs with healthcare workers at QECH, and 4 IDIs with community-based rehabilitation workers (CRWs). Results: FGDs revealed that caregivers lack important knowledge about CM and fear recurrence of CM in their children. Post-CM children and families experience substantial stigma and sociocultural barriers to integrating into their community and accessing neurorehabilitative care.