The Place of Tuberculosis The lived experience of Pacific peoples in Auckland and Samoa

Roannie Shiu
2006 unpublished
There has been a worldwide resurgence in tuberculosis since the 1990s. This is a major public health in terms of burden of disease and illness. The fact that TB is a preventable disease poses questions as to why rates of the disease are increasing. New Zealand's resurgence in TB involves rates and incidences of that vary across ethnic groups. Currently, Pacific peoples have four times the rate of TB compared to the rest of New Zealand and have the second highest rate of the four "ethnic
more » ... our "ethnic groups", Pakeha, Maori, Pacific peoples and 'other'. Further the incidence of TB is concentrated in Auckland, which is home for 67% of all Pacific peoples in New Zealand. This thesis examines the lived experience of TB of Pacific peoples in Auckland and Samoa within a political ecology framework, with the purpose of investigating some of the social determinants of TB. This investigation explores the health-seeking behaviour of Pacific TB patients and how cultural identity, health beliefs and social networks impacts on this experience. In conjunction with participant, thirteen interviews were conducted with TB patients in Auckland and Samoa and two focus groups were carried out in Auckland to examine the health beliefs and perceptions of Pacific peoples who had no personal experience of TB. The results of this thesis suggest that for Pacific people's experience of TB is informed by an amalgamation of Pacific health perspectives and western biomedical perceptions. These perceptions are negotiated in a context of changing health and immigration realities. The thesis concludes that TB is still a stigmatised disease for those with a health culture of TB and that Pacific people's still use traditional medicine extensively. Further, migration is a social stressor that can activate TB. More research needs to be done in relation to the delay of seeking western medical attention by Pacific peoples. Finally, more information about the recent developments in TB needs to be more accessible to the general public to combat with the stigma of the disease and assist with treatment compliance.