Our survey in Samastipur

In order to steer our work effectively we commissioned a survey in Samastipur that would help us identify where there were gaps in healthcare services but also where there were gaps in knowledge when it came to neglected diseases. We interviewed 1,473 people from all seven blocks in the region...

What did it tell us?

We found out a lot of significant findings that have, and are, helping us to tailor our work and ensure we are providing support where it is really needed. We found, out of the people we spoke to, that:.

  • 66% people affected by a disease were illiterate. This identified that the communities included in our project are below the district rural average regarding literacy levels. That means that when we deliver education and awareness events, we must tailor these to those so they are suitable for people who cannot read
  • Less than a quarter (22%) of people live in permanent houses made out of concrete with a solid roof. Most people live in straw or mud houses which is something we need to be aware of when we are looking at preventing disease transmission
  • 41% of people have electricity in their households but of those affected by leprosy, only 26% have electricity
  • About half of interviewees affected by leprosy have a source of water on their premises (53%) but only 34% of those affected by LF did. Management of LF and leprosy requires good overall hydration as well as daily cleaning and 30 minute soaking of affected body parts that are prone to infections. The recommended practice is often hard to maintain if there is no source of clean water within a household. We will therefore tailor our activities in such a way that encourages self-care practices under the circumstances
  • 80% said they did not have access to a toilet facility and used a bush or field. This means that often individuals are walking further distances in the dark to reach an area of privacy. This can increase their discomfort and diarrhea

Leprosy affected persons

  • 15% of people presented with a grade two disability which is one that has caused severe nerve damage or disability to the hands or feet. It can also mean loss of vision
  • Only 1% of people said they did not feel limited in their life by leprosy and 53% reported that they feel significantly limited by the disease. When asked to specify most people reported to be limited in their ability to perform daily household chores, followed up by their ability to seek employment and attend social events
  • A third of those with leprosy reported being unemployed

Lymphatic filariasis affected persons

  • A third of people said they feel significantly limited and two thirds (68%) feel partially limited in their daily life because of their health condition. When asked to specify, 91% said they are limited in performing their daily chores, followed by ability to take care of children (60%) and ability to attend social events (67%)

These findings allow us to see what the people in the Samastipur region need to combat disease. Over the next few years we hope to improve the lives of those affected by neglected diseases in the region and see these reflected in our subsequent surveys.