Spotlight on research

This page will shine a spotlight on different aspects of the fieldwork and research taking place as part of this interdisciplinary project.

Read below to hear from Nateiya M. Yongolo discuss the Community Screening and Elizabeth Msoka discussing Qualitative Research Methods.

We begin with with Nateiya M. Yongolo discussing Community Screening.

Nateiya M Yongolo

I am I am a Medical Doctor and Global Health Researcher, an alumnus of the University of Glasgow UK. I have worked in the field of research for more than 5 years as a research doctor and a study coordinator.  

In this study I work as the lead study coordinator whereby I interlink study teams and activities to ensure smooth conduct of day-to-day activities. I coordinate the community participants recruitments procedure both Qualitative and Quantitative, sample collection, laboratory procedures and data management as well as data analysis and dissemination.

Main picture: Team members at Nkuu Sinde village preparing for sample collection. Top picture: Team members preparing to undertake work Bottom picture: One of the challenging rough roads at ROO village, the team getting the car unstuck in mud.

Community visits begin with a week prior preparation by the field team, printing information sheets and consents, calibrating weighing and BP machines, checking the tablets among other data collection tools and transport arrangements. We communicate with the village leaders and enumerator whereby they prepare a list of households and Balozi’s that belong to the village. We use one day to do a meeting with them whereby we give introduction about the projects activities we expect to carry on the village and on arthritis in general.

The households are selected on a random bases were by 70 households per village were selected. One household is visited twice to ensure that we get all eligible participants. Participants are screened using GALS and REMS tools, that the team received training on. All REMS positive screeners undergo a set of extra health economy questionnaires and also have their blood samples taken.  They are also invited for the qualitative part of the study for interview and focus group discussions. We can also inform them about the Rheumatology clinic at KCMC for management; this clinic was set up by the study as means to intervene and help these patients.

One of the team members enjoying the scenery up highlands of Kilimanjaro mountain.

Next up, Elizabeth Msoka discusses Qualitative Research Methods.

Image of Msoka conducting interview
Elizabeth Msoka conducting a semi-strucutred interview

I am a multidisplinary socio science researcher of health and sociology, with more than 10 years’ experience of conducting research. My work on this project has included conducting a Rapid Ethnographic Assessment (REA) in order to explore the local categorization of joint and identify and measure the support seeking experience of arthritis suffers in Northern Tanzania alongside conducting semi-structured interviews.

Two of us, both social scientists, were responsible for 60 built interviews and 48 individual interviews among the patients suffering from joint pain from the two communities from Hai District in Kilimanjaro region.

Initially, 60 built interviews took place with community leaders, local healthcare providers (traditional and biomedical), community members, pharmacists (working in Duka la dawa). These  involved building a typology of different words used for joint pain and arthritis to inform future data collection.

Later,  48 in-depth interviews were conducted in order to gain an understanding of local perceptions of the condition(s).

Inside duka la dawa (pharmacist) in Kilimanjaro Region and the Hai landscape. Images courtesy of Elizbeth Msoka

Typically, I would begin field preparation a week before by liaising with community leaders, ensuring to keep in mind the risk assessment procedures and practice them throughout, book and charge devices and pack kit. I would communicate with the Project Administrator for preparation of the transport. Collect all audio and visual data on secure devices with password protection. Then, file all the forms, upload data from recording device to KCRI network drive, complete data forms such as REA proforma and add any new terms for joint pain typology sheet or complete the participant summary form.

Selection of images from fieldwork courtesy of Elizabeth Msoka

By conducting REA within a sample of census communities, we intended to document the local schemes of classification relating to joint pain.

By conducting semi-structured interviews with members of the census cohort who have reported symptoms of arthritis we explored situated accounts of living with arthritis symptoms, including: the multiple impacts symptoms have on individuals and the livelihood of their household;  the ‘illness work’[i] that interviewees do to manage both symptoms and their impacts; the treatment seeking behaviour and management practices enacted by individuals, including the obstacles and challenges faced in accessing preferred treatments. 

Generally, this research seeks to uncover a more holistic understanding of what it means to live with these conditions by taking seriously the emotional and everyday experiences of individuals.

Elizabeth Msoka