The Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) on Women's Health and Wellbeing in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA): A Case Study of Kenya.
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) trap individuals in a cycle of poverty through their devastating effects on health, wellbeing and social-economic capabilities that extend to other axes of inequity such as gender and/or ethnicity. Despite NTDs being regarded as equity tracers, little attention has been paid toward gender dynamics and relationships for gender-equitable access to NTD programs in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This paper examines the impact of NTDs on women's health and wellbeing in SSA using Kenya as a case study. This research is part of a larger research program designed to examine the impact of NTDs on the health and wellbeing of populations in Kenya. Thematic analysis of key informants' interviews ( = 21) and focus groups ( = 5) reveals first that NTDs disproportionately affect women and girls due to their assigned gender roles and responsibilities. Second, women face financial and time constraints when accessing health care due to diminished economic power and autonomy. Third, women suffer more from the related social consequences of NTDs (that is, stigma, discrimination and/or abandonment), which affects their health-seeking behavior. As such, we strongly suggest a gender lens when addressing NTD specific exposure, socio-economic inequities, and other gender dynamics that may hinder the successful delivery of NTD programs at the local and national levels.