A qualitative socio-ecological characterization of the plague threat at Hermelinda Market, La Libertad, Peru

  • Rivière-Cinnamond A
  • Santandreu A
  • Gonzalvez G
  • et al.
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Objective To identify 1) the main determinants of persistent Yersinia pestis circulation and the associated threat of plague at Hermelinda Market—a large farmers' market in the city of Trujillo, La Libertad, Peru—and the main actions taken against it, as perceived by local stakeholders; 2) the level of plague risk perception among local actors; and 3) recommended actions to solve the plague threat at the market. Methods A conceptual framework was developed combining a social determinants approach with a complex systems-thinking framework and a knowledge management perspective. A four-step qualitative protocol was carried out (literature review; stakeholder mapping; 37 semi-structured interviews; and coding/analysis). In the fourth step, the data collected in the semi-structured interviews were coded for eight social determinants of health (SDH) variables and analyzed with ATLAS.ti®, and an emerging category analysis was performed to identify risk perception levels. Results Based on analysis by SDH variable, the three main determinants of the plague threat at Hermelinda Market were: 1) local (Trujillo City) governance, 2) infrastructure and basic services, and 3) local culture. According to the same analysis, actions most frequently undertaken against plague involved 1) infrastructure and basic services, 2) social vigilance, and 3) communication. The emerging category analysis indicated local risk perception levels were low, with most of the data pointing to "unhygienic" ("naturalized") lifestyles and a general lack of awareness about the disease prior to plague-related health concerns at the market as the cause. Conclusions The results indicate that the persistent circulation of Yersinia pestis at Hermelinda Market is not simply a technical matter but more of a managerial and cultural problem. As local governance was found to be a main factor in the persistence of this public health threat, future efforts against it should focus on sustainable inter-sectoral planning and education. Actions taken exclusively by the health sector and the improvement of infrastructure and basic services alone will not be enough to reduce the threat of plague at the market.




Rivière-Cinnamond, A., Santandreu, A., Gonzalvez, G., Luján, A., Noriega, M., Espinoza Quiroz, J. O., … Gabastou, J.-M. (2017). A qualitative socio-ecological characterization of the plague threat at Hermelinda Market, La Libertad, Peru. Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.26633/rpsp.2017.107

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