As part of a multicentre study on kidney disease (ARK) undertaken in Malawi, South Africa and Uganda we undertook a social science component in Uganda to gather information on people's understandings and perceptions of a diagnosis of kidney dysfunction, treatment and treatment seeking. We recruited 46 people who had been given information about kidney dysfunction and had been found to have some, usually early, signs of mild impairment. Data were collected during two in-depth interviews. Most participants had heard of the condition, but half denied knowledge of the health status of their kidneys or receiving results of tests from the clinic team. This response may have been linked to a lack of symptoms, for those with early stage kidney dysfunction. The treatment people reported receiving caused some uncertainty about condition severity. This may be because several people were treated for other conditions (such as urinary tract infections) and did not require treatment specifically for kidney disease. In our study, participants assessed illness severity based on symptoms and treatment and compared with the progression of other conditions.
Keywords: Kidney dysfunction; Uganda; kidney impairment; non-communicable diseases; qualitative methods.
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