Barriers and Enablers to Health-Seeking for People Affected by Severe Stigmatising Skin Diseases (SSSDs): A Scoping Review
People affected by severe stigmatising skin diseases (SSSDs) often live in the poorest communities, within the poorest countries, and experience a range of barriers to seeking timely, quality care. This scoping review analyses the available literature on health-seeking for patients affected by SSSDs, to identify enablers and barriers to health-seeking. We searched MEDLINE complete, CINAHL, Global Health databases for suitable articles published between 2010 and 2020. Search strings were compiled for health-seeking, SSSDs and lower middle-income countries (LMIC). Our search returned 1004 studies from across three databases. Of these, 136 potentially relevant studies were identified and full texts were reviewed for eligibility against the inclusion criteria, leading to the inclusion of 55 studies. Thematic narrative analysis was used, with results framed around the Levesque framework to analyse barriers and enablers to health-seeking along the continuum of the patient pathway. This scoping review has revealed barriers across the patient pathway, from both supply and demand aspects of health services. Spiritual beliefs emerged strongly relating to care-seeking and underlying stigma. Curative care was a focus for the majority of studies, but few papers emphasised holistic care (such as physical rehabilitation and psychosocial support). From our analysis, greater community engagement is needed to reduce barriers along the patient-care pathway.