Breaking the Stigma of Albinism : An assessment of two radio-based interventions to improve knowledge and reduce stigmatizing attitudes related to albinism in Tanzania

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In Tanzania, stigmatization of people with albinism is an everyday reality that can have dire consequences. This research examines the effects of two radio interventions targeted at spreading information concerning albinism and reducing the connected health-related stigma. Participants (N=250) were assigned to one of the two interventions: (1) an educative radio drama, or (2) a contact-based radio interview. The effectiveness of the interventions was tested through an experimental design, by making use of knowledge testing, the Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue Community Stigma Scale (EMIC-CSS), the Social Distance Scale (SDS) and an entertainment scale. In addition, short (group) interviews were held with all participants on three occasions. The participants completed the measures and evaluations prior to, immediately after, and at least two weeks after the interventions. Both interventions showed an increase in knowledge about albinism. A significant decrease in stigmatizing attitudes on the community level was found for the radio drama and on the personal level for the radio interview. The entertainment score was high for both interventions. The qualitative data supports these measurements as respondents indicated an increase in knowledge about albinism, a better understanding of the cause of albinism and a high interest in radio education. This research shows that radio interventions about albinism can lead to an improvement of knowledge and stigmatizing attitudes concerning albinism. The outcomes of this study can be used as the basis for research addressing the relationship between a reduction in stigmatizing attitudes and stigmatizing behaviour.
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