Cultural Adaptation of a Brief Intervention to Reduce Alcohol Use Among Injury Patients in Tanzania

Armand Zimmerman 1 Msafiri Pesambili2 Ashley J. Phillips3 Judith Boshe2 Blandina T. Mmbaga MD, PhD2, 4 Michael H. Pantalon PhD5 Monica Swahn PhD6 Jon Mark Hirshon MD PhD7 Joao Ricardo Nickenig Vissoci 1, 3 Catherine A. Staton 1, 3
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Harmful alcohol use is a leading risk factor for injury-related death and disability in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Brief negotiational interventions (BNIs) administered in emergency departments (EDs) to injury patients with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are effective in reducing post-hospital alcohol intake and re-injury rates. However, most BNIs to date have been developed and implemented in high-income countries. The efficacy of BNIs in LMICs is largely unknown as few studies have undertaken the rigorous task of culturally adapting these interventions to new settings. Given the high prevalence of alcohol-related injury in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, we culturally adapted a BNI to reduce post-injury alcohol use for implementation in this patient population.


We used an iterative, multiphase process to culturally adapt a high-income country standard of care BNI to the Tanzanian setting using the Intervention Mapping ADAPT framework. Our team consisted of local healthcare professionals with extensive experience in counseling patients who use alcohol, as well as an international team of academic and clinical professionals. Focus groups were used to inform culturally appropriate changes to the standard of care BNI protocol. Objective assessment of BNI delivery was performed to ensure adherence to the FRAMES model of motivational interviewing.


We developed the Punguza Pombe Kwa Afya Yako (PPKAY); a one-time, 15-minute nurse-led BNI that encourages safe alcohol use and motivates change in alcohol use behaviors among injury patients in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. Adaptations to the original intervention protocol include changes regarding the interventionist, how a patient is greeted, how the topic of alcohol use is raised, how a patient is informed of their harmful alcohol use, how graphics are visualized within the intervention protocol, how behavior change is motivated, and which behavior changes are encouraged.


The PPKAY intervention is the first BNI to be culturally adapted for delivery to injury patients in an LMIC population. Our study demonstrates a unique approach to adapting substance use interventions for use in LMICs, and shows that cultural adaptation of alcohol use interventions is feasible even in settings where community knowledge regarding harmful alcohol use is limited. Our study prompts the need for further research and cultural adaptation of BNIs for other lowincome communities at increased risk of alcohol-related harm.