Living with Diabetes in times of COVID-19 pandemic: A Qualitative Study from West Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya, India

By Alacrity Muksor and Daksha Parmar

The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown introduced to break the chain of disease transmission brought numerous challenges to people living with Type 2 diabetes. The present paper attempts to explore and understand the challenges faced by people living with diabetes and the variation in experiences based on their socioeconomic context. This qualitative study was conducted during the pandemic’s first and second waves in rural areas of West Jaintia Hills District, predominantly inhabited by the Pnar tribe. In-depth interviews with 90 Pnar men and women living with diabetes were undertaken. Findings from the present study reveal the perception that COVID-19 is not severe, limited knowledge about complications of diabetes, and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, multiply to increase the vulnerability of the tribal populations living in the hilly and difficult terrain of the district. Therefore, addressing the burden of chronic illnesses in rural tribal areas in times of emerging infectious pandemics by providing comprehensive care and services at public health facilities is the need of the hour.

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