Community experiences of persons with lower limb amputations in Malawi
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Persons with lower limb amputations (LLA) experience different challenges in the community. These challenges include the physical, psychological and social function of an individual. Little is known in Malawi on what persons with lower limb amputations go through in the communities where they live. Therefore, the study aimed at exploring and determining community experiences of persons with LLA in Malawi. The study sought to address the following objectives: 1) To determine the functional and psychological status of persons with LLA in the community; 2) To explore and describe experiences on social participation of persons with LLA in the community; 3). To explore experiences on community re-integration following LLA. A mixed method approach was applied where quantitative and qualitative data were collected simultaneously to provide a more holistic overview of the experiences of persons with LLA at one point in time. The study setting was Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and Kamuzu Central Hospitals (KCH) (500 miles), located in Malawi. A sample of 180 participants was recruited to participate in the study. Three self-administered questionnaires (socio-demographic questionnaire, OPUS module of lower extremity functional status, and a Beck’s depression inventory scale) and a semi-structured interview guide were used for data collection. Thematic data analysis was used to analyze qualitative data, while quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Ethical clearance was obtained from the University of the Western Cape Biomedical Research Ethics Committee (BMREC) and College of Medicine Research Ethics Committee (COMREC). Permission to conduct the study was obtained from KCH (500 miles) and QECH. Privacy andconfidentiality was strictly observed such that data obtained was anonymous. It was kept in a secure place, and electronic data was secured using a password.