Experiences accessing and using rehabilitation services for people with physical disabilities in Sierra Leone

AENISHANSLIN, Justine
AMARA, Abu
MAGNUSSON, Lina
Publication Date 
April 2020
11 pp

Purpose: To explore the experiences of persons with physical disabilities accessing and using rehabilitation services in Sierra Leone.

 

Materials and methods: Interviews of 38 individuals with differing physical disabilities in three locations across Sierra Leone. An inductive approach was applied, and qualitative content analysis used.

 

Results: Participants faced several barriers to accessing and using rehabilitation services. Six themes emerged: The initial and ongoing need for rehabilitation throughout life; challenges with the cost of rehabilitation and transportation to reach rehabilitation services; varied experiences with rehabilitation staff; coming to terms with disability and encountering stigma; the struggles without and opportunities with rehabilitation services; and limited knowledge and availability of rehabilitation services.

 

Conclusions: There is a continued need to address the barriers associated with the affordability of rehabilitation through the financing of rehabilitation and transportation and exploring low-cost care delivery models. Rehabilitation services, assistive devices, and materials need to be available in existing rehabilitation centres. A national priority list is recommended to improve the availability and coordination of rehabilitation services. Improved knowledge about disability and rehabilitation services in the wider community is needed. Addressing discriminatory health beliefs and the stigma affecting people with disabilities through community interventions and health promotion is recommended.

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