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The Socio‑economic Impact of Stroke on Households in Livingstone District, Zambia: A Cross‑sectional Study

Author(s): Mapulanga M*, Nzala S and Mweemba C

Background: Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability. Stroke, which affects mostly the productive age group, leaves about 65% of its victims disabled, leads to increased loss of manpower both at individual and national levels. Little is known about the socio‑economic burden of the disease in terms of its impacts on the individual, family and community both directly and indirectly in Sub‑Sahara Africa region and Zambia at large. Aim: The study was aimed at assessing the socio‑economic impact of stroke households in Livingstone district, Zambia. Subjects and Methods: A total of 50 households were randomly selected from the registers of Livingstone General Hospital. Self‑administered questionnaires and focus group discussions were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data respectively. The data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 16 (IBM Corporation) and content analysis. Chi‑square test was used to make associations between variables. Results: The social impacts on the victim were depression, difficult to get along with, resentfulness, apathy, needy, separation, divorce, general marital problems, neglect on the part of the victim and fear. The economic impacts were loss of employment, reduced business activity and loss of business on the part of the victim. Economic activities such as food provision, payment of school fees, accommodation were affected as a result of stroke and this led to financial insecurities in households with lost incomes in form of salaries and businesses. The activities forgone by stroke households were food provision, housing and education. The study also revealed an association between period of stroke and relationship changes (P < 0.001). Gender and family relationship changes were highly associated (P < 0.00), as more females than males experienced relationship changes. Conclusion: The results of the present study show that stroke has considerable socio‑economic impact on households in Livingstone district, which can deter the victims’ development as well as the household and the nation at large.

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