Nurses' roles and challenges to providing care for tropical diseases: A scoping review

Yayu Nidaul Fithriyyah(1*), Haryani Haryani(2),

(1) Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
(2) Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
(*) Corresponding Author


Tropical diseases are associated with tropical regions, but global access travel, climate change, and environmental factors affecting disease vectors may spread to non-endemic countries. This review reinforces the view of nurses' roles and challenges to providing care for tropical diseases. This scoping review search included: SCOPUS, PubMed, EBSCO Medline, Science Direct, and citation search: Google Scholar. Studies included if the population was nurses or part of a multidisciplinary or provider intervention on tropical diseases and original English articles between 2011 and 2021 with various methods. From 773 studies identified, 23 met the inclusion criteria. Three themes emerged: 1) nurses role as health providers, educators, motivators, leaders, collaboration, and coordination; 2) providing safe working and job satisfaction; and 3) The role of organizations, health systems, and policymakers. There were also three challenges: 1) lack of skills, knowledge, and training for nurses, 2) the stigma of tropical diseases, 3) sociocultural approach. The role and practice of nursing in tropical diseases vary across healthcare settings, influenced by nurses' stigma, knowledge, training, job safety, and satisfaction. Nurse lack knowledge and training compared to other health workers. Potential to increase nurse participation with a sociocultural approach and involving nurse's leadership roles require further research


nurses; practice; role; tropical disease; neglected tropical disease

Full Text:



Aagaard-Hansen, J., & Chaignat, C. L. (2016). Neglected tropical diseases: equity and social determinants.

Abeje, T., Negera, E., Kebede, E., Hailu, T., Hassen, I., Lema, T., Yamuah, L., Shiguti, B., Fenta, M., Negasa, M., Beyene, D., Bobosha, K., & Aseffa, A. (2016). Performance of general health workers in leprosy control activities at public health facilities in Amhara and Oromia States, Ethiopia. BMC Health Services Research, 16(1), 1–7.

Acup, C., Bardosh, K. L., Picozzi, K., Waiswa, C., & Welburn, S. C. (2017). Factors influencing passive surveillance for T. b. rhodesiense human african trypanosomiasis in Uganda. Acta Tropica, 165, 230–239.

Adongo, P. B., Tabong, P. T. N., Asampong, E., Ansong, J., Robalo, M., & Adanu, R. M. (2016). Preparing towards Preventing and Containing an Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak: What Socio-cultural Practices May Affect Containment Efforts in Ghana? PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 10(7), 1–18.

Ahmed, A., Saqlain, M., Tanveer, M., Tahir, A. H., Ud-Din, F., Shinwari, M. I., Khan, G. M., & Anwer, N. (2021). Knowledge, attitude and perceptions about Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) among occupationally high-risk healthcare professionals of Pakistan. BMC Infectious Diseases, 21(1).

Akinwale, O. E., & George, O. J. (2020). Work environment and job satisfaction among nurses in government tertiary hospitals in Nigeria. Rajagiri Management Journal, 14(1), 71–92.

Alonso, P., Engels, D., & Reeder, J. (2017). Renewed push to strengthen vector control globally. In The Lancet (Vol. 389, Issue 10086, pp. 2270-2271.). Lancet Publishing Group.

Alotaibi, B., Yassin, Y., Mushi, A., Maashi, F., Thomas, A., Mohamed, G., Hassan, A., & Yezli, S. (2019). Tuberculosis knowledge, attitude and practice among healthcare workers during the 2016 Hajj. PLoS ONE, 14(1), 1–15.

Arksey, H., & O'Malley, L. (2005). Scoping studies: Towards a methodological framework. International Journal of Social Research Methodology: Theory and Practice, 8(1), 19–32.

Bärnighausen, T., Bloom, D. E., & Humair, S. (2013). Global Health Governance and Tropical Diseases. In Manson's Tropical Diseases: Twenty-Third Edition (pp. 16–22). Elsevier Ltd.

Bayisenge, U., Schurer, J., Wong, R., Amuguni, H., & Davey, G. (2020). Podoconiosis in Rwanda: Knowledge, attitudes and practices among health professionals and environmental officers. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 14(10), 1–14.

Blood-Siegfried, J., Zeantoe, G. C., Evans, L. J., Bondo, J., Forstner, J. R., & Wood, K. (2015). The Impact of Nurses on Neglected Tropical Disease Management. Public Health Nursing, 32(6), 680–701.

Brattström-Stolt, L., Funk, T., Sié, A., Ndiaye, C., & Alfvén, T. (2019). Noma-knowledge and practice competence among primary healthcare workers: A cross-sectional study in Burkina Faso. International Health, 11(4), 290–296.

Byberg, L., Lepp, M., & Rosengren, K. (2019). Nursing and Health Care Nurses' Experiences of Caring for Patients with Tuberculosis - An Interview Study in Indonesia. Int Arch Nurs Health Care, 5(4), 136–146.

Corley, A. G., Thornton, C. P., & Glass, N. E. (2016). The Role of Nurses and Community Health Workers in Confronting Neglected Tropical Diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review. In PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (Vol. 10, Issue 9).

Delamou, A., Sidibé, S., El Ayadi, A. M., Camara, B. S., Delvaux, T., Utz, B., Toure, A., Sandouno, S. D., Camara, A., Beavogui, A. H., Shahabuddin, A., van der Veken, K., Assarag, B., Okumura, J., & de Brouwere, V. (2017). Maternal and child health services in the context of the Ebola virus disease: Health care workers' knowledge, attitudes and practices in rural Guinea. African Journal of Reproductive Health, 21(1), 104–113.

Dran, J. (2018). A unique institutional response to the zika virus epidemic. In Obstetrics and Gynecology (Vol. 131, Issue 4, pp. 666–670). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Ehrenberg, J. P., Zhou, X. N., Fontes, G., Rocha, E. M. M., Tanner, M., & Utzinger, J. (2020). Strategies supporting the prevention and control of neglected tropical diseases during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. In Infectious Diseases of Poverty (Vol. 9, Issue 1, p. 86). BioMed Central.

Frieden, M., Zamba, B., Mukumbi, N., Mafaune, P. T., Makumbe, B., Irungu, E., Moneti, V., Isaakidis, P., Garone, D., & Prasai, M. (2020). Setting up a nurse-led model of care for management of hypertension and diabetes mellitus in a high HIV prevalence context in rural Zimbabwe: A descriptive study. BMC Health Services Research, 20(1), 1–10.

Fry, M., & MacGregor, C. (2014). Confidence and impact on clinical decision-making and behaviour in the emergency department. Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 17(3), 91–97.

Guilamo-Ramos, V., Thimm-Kaiser, M., Benzekri, A., Hidalgo, A., Lanier, Y., Tlou, S., de Lourdes Rosas López, M., Soletti, A. B., & Hagan, H. (2021). Nurses at the frontline of public health emergency preparedness and response: lessons learned from the HIV/AIDS pandemic and emerging infectious disease outbreaks. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 0(0).

Handel, A. S., Ayala, E. B., Borbor-Cordova, M. J., Fessler, A. G., Finkelstein, J. L., Espinoza, R. X. R., Ryan, S. J., & Stewart-Ibarra, A. M. (2015). Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding dengue infection among public sector healthcare providers in Machala, Ecuador. Tropical Diseases, Travel Medicine and Vaccines, 2(1), 1–10.

Hay, R. J., & Asiedu, K. (2019). Skin-related neglected tropical diseases (Skin NTDs) - A new challenge. In Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease (Vol. 4, Issue 1). MDPI AG.

Hotez, P. J., & Gurwith, M. (2011). Europe's neglected infections of poverty. In International Journal of Infectious Diseases (Vol. 15, Issue 9). Int J Infect Dis.

Hsieh, H. F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277–1288.

Hunter, P. (2014). Tropical diseases and the poor: Neglected tropical diseases are a public health problem for developing and developed countries alike. EMBO Reports, 15(4), 347–350.

Iglesias-Rus, L., Romay-Barja, M., Boquete, T., Benito, A., & Blasco-Hernández, T. (2019). The role of the first level of health care in the approach to Chagas disease in a non-endemic country. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 13(12), 1–16.

Ishimaru, T., Wada, K., Hoang, H. T. X., Bui, A. T. M., Nguyen, H. D., Le, H., & Smith, D. R. (2017). Nurses' willingness to care for patients infected with HIV or hepatitis B / C in Vietnam. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 22(1), 1–7.

Kufa, T., Fielding, K. L., Hippner, P., Kielmann, K., Vassall, A., Churchyard, G. J., Grant, A. D., & Charalambous, S. (2018). An intervention to optimize the delivery of integrated tuberculosis and HIV services at primary care clinics: results of the MERGE cluster randomized trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 72, 43–52.

Lockwood, C., dos Santos, K. B., & Pap, R. (2019). Practical Guidance for Knowledge Synthesis: Scoping Review Methods. In Asian Nursing Research (Vol. 13, Issue 5, pp. 287–294). Korean Society of Nursing Science.

Machini, B., Zurovac, D., Amboko, B., Malla, L., Snow, R. W., Kipruto, H., & Achia, T. N. O. (2020). Predictors of health workers' knowledge about artesunate-based severe malaria treatment recommendations in government and faith-based hospitals in Kenya. Malaria Journal, 19(1), 1–10.

Magdi, H. M., El-fatah, S. R. A., & Nawal, A. A. (2018). Knowledge , Attitudes and Practices of Nurses Working with HIV / AIDS Patients Knowledge , Attitudes and Practice of Nurses Working with HIV / AIDS Patients. September, 0–14.

Mears, J., Abubakar, I., Crisp, D., Maguire, H., Innes, J. A., Lilley, M., Lord, J., Cohen, T., Borgdorff, M. W., Vynnycky, E., McHugh, T. D., & Sonnenberg, P. (2014). Prospective evaluation of a complex public health intervention: Lessons from an initial and follow-up cross-sectional survey of the tuberculosis strain typing service in England. BMC Public Health, 14(1).

Molina‐mula, J., & Gallo‐estrada, J. (2020). Impact of nurse‐patient relationship on quality of care and patient autonomy in decision‐making. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(3).

Mosites, E., Carpenter, L. R., McElroy, K., Lancaster, M. J., Ngo, T. H., McQuiston, J., Wiedeman, C., & Dunn, J. R. (2013). Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding rocky mountain spotted fever among healthcare providers, Tennessee, 2009. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 88(1), 162–166.

Nyblade, L., Stockton, M. A., Giger, K., Bond, V., Ekstrand, M. L., Lean, R. M., Mitchell, E. M. H., Nelson, L. R. E., Sapag, J. C., Siraprapasiri, T., Turan, J., & Wouters, E. (2019). Stigma in health facilities: Why it matters and how we can change it. BMC Medicine, 17(1), 25.

Ofili, A. N., Asuzu, M. C., Isah, E. C., & Ogbeide, O. (2004). Job satisfaction and psychological health of doctors at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. Occupational Medicine, 54(6), 400–403.

Ong, J. J., Peng, M. H., Wong, W. W., Lo, Y. R., Kidd, M. R., Roland, M., Zhu, S. Z., & Jiang, S. F. (2019). Opportunities and barriers for providing HIV testing through community health centers in mainland China: A nationwide cross-sectional survey. BMC Infectious Diseases, 19(1), 1–9.

Oulton, J. A. (2006). The global nursing shortage: An overview of issues and actions. Policy, Politics, and Nursing Practice, 7(SUPPL/ 3), 34S-39S.

Owusu-Ofori, A., Gadzo, D., & Bates, I. (2016). Transfusion-transmitted malaria: Donor prevalence of parasitaemia and a survey of healthcare workers knowledge and practices in a district hospital in Ghana. Malaria Journal, 15(1), 1–7.

Peck, R., Mghamba, J., Vanobberghen, F., Kavishe, B., Rugarabamu, V., Smeeth, L., Hayes, R., Grosskurth, H., & Kapiga, S. (2014). Preparedness of Tanzanian health facilities for outpatient primary care of hypertension and diabetes: A cross-sectional survey. The Lancet Global Health, 2(5), e285–e292.

PRISMA. (2020). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) 2020 Flow Diagram.

Recto, P., McGlothen-Bell, K., McGrath, J., Brownell, E., & Cleveland, L. M. (2020). The Role of Stigma in the Nursing Care of Families Impacted by Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Advances in Neonatal Care, 20(5), 354–363.

Romero, I. R., & Reyes, G. L. (2020). On the front line: Health professionals and system preparedness for Zika virus in Peru. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 148(S2), 45–54.

Rupali, P. (2019). Introduction to Tropical Medicine. In Infectious Disease Clinics of North America (Vol. 33, Issue 1, pp. 1–15). W.B. Saunders.

Services, W. D. of H. (2020). Infection Control and Prevention - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) | Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Shaffner, J., Jones, T. F., & Moncayo, A. C. (2016). Challenges to arboviral surveillance in Tennessee: Healthcare providers' attitudes and behaviors. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 94(6), 1330–1335.

Slattery, M. J., Logan, B. L., Mudge, B., Secore, K., von Reyn, L. J., & Maue, R. A. (2016). An Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program to Prepare Nursing Students for Future Workforce Roles. Journal of Professional Nursing, 32(6), 412–420.

Sucharew, H., & Macaluso, M. (2019). Methods for research evidence synthesis: The scoping review approach. In Journal of Hospital Medicine (Vol. 14, Issue 7, pp. 416–418). Frontline Medical Communications.

Sundararajan, R., Mwanga-Amumpaire, J., Adrama, H., Tumuhairwe, J., Mbabazi, S., Mworozi, K., Carroll, R., Bangsberg, D., II, Y. B., & Ware, N. C. (2015). Sociocultural and Structural Factors Contributing to Delays in Treatment for Children with Severe Malaria: A Qualitative Study in Southwestern Uganda. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 92(5), 933.

Tangwa, G.B., Abayomi, A., Ujewe, S.J., Munung, N. . (2019). Sociocultural Dimensions of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Africa. Sociocultural Dimensions of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Africa.

Tricco, A. C., Lillie, E., Zarin, W., O'Brien, K. K., Colquhoun, H., Levac, D., Moher, D., Peters, M. D. J., Horsley, T., Weeks, L., Hempel, S., Akl, E. A., Chang, C., McGowan, J., Stewart, L., Hartling, L., Aldcroft, A., Wilson, M. G., Garritty, C., … Straus, S. E. (2018). PRISMA extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR): Checklist and explanation. In Annals of Internal Medicine (Vol. 169, Issue 7, pp. 467–473). American College of Physicians.

Trinkoff, A. M., Geiger-Brown, J. M., Caruso, C. C., Lipscomb, J. A., Johantgen, M., Nelson, A. L., Sattler, B. A., & Selby, V. L. (2008). Personal Safety for Nurses. Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses.

Tupasi, T. E., Garfin, A. M. C. G., Kurbatova, E. V., Mangan, J. M., Orillaza-Chi, R., Naval, L. C., Balane, G. I., Basilio, R., Golubkov, A., Joson, E. S., Lew, W. J., Lofranco, V., Mantala, M., Pancho, S., & Sarol, J. N. (2016). Factors associated with loss to follow-up during treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the Philippines, 2012-2014. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 22(3), 491–502.

Turale, S., & Kunaviktikul, W. (2019). The contribution of nurses to health policy and advocacy requires leaders to provide training and mentorship. International Nursing Review, 66(3), 302–304.

Veit, O. (2015). Manson's tropical diseases 23rd edition. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease.

Verbeek, J. H., Rajamaki, B., Ijaz, S., Tikka, C., Ruotsalainen, J. H., Edmond, M. B., Sauni, R., Balci, F. S. K., & Group, C. W. (2019). Personal protective equipment for preventing highly infectious diseases due to exposure to contaminated body fluids in healthcare staff. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2019(7).

Weng, Y. H., Bhembe, P. T., Chiou, H. Y., Yang, C. Y., & Chiu, Y. W. (2016). Perceived risk of tuberculosis infection among healthcare workers in Swaziland. BMC Infectious Diseases, 16(1), 1–8.

World Health Organization. (2018). WHO | Recognizing neglected tropical diseases through changes on the skin. WHO.

World Health Organization (WHO). (2020). Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Yancey, N. R. (2016). The Challenge of Writing for Publication: Implications for Teaching-Learning Nursing. Nursing Science Quarterly, 29(4), 277–282.

Article Metrics

Abstract view(s): 636 time(s)
PDF: 278 time(s)


  • There are currently no refbacks.