"As we have gathered with a common problem, so we seek a solution": exploring the dynamics of a community dialogue process to encourage community participation in family planning/contraceptive programmes.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Community dialogues have been widely used as a method for community engagement and participation to cover a broad range of areas. However, there has been limited documentation and evaluation of the process, particularly as a method towards achieving family planning and contraception (FP/C) programme goals. As part of the development of an intervention package aimed at increasing community and health care provider (HCP) participation in the provision of FP/C, feasibility testing of the intervention approach (a community dialogue between communities and health facilities) was carried out. Our findings offer a systematic description and evaluation of the community dialogue process, with key recommendations towards future implementation. METHODS:The dialogue was evaluated in three ways: 1) through participant observation during the community dialogue, 2) via a standardised feasibility testing tick-list for all observers of the dialogue, and 3) through three focus group discussions (FGDs) consisting of different groups of stakeholders who participated in the community dialogue. In total, 28 community members, HCPs, and key stakeholders attended the community dialogue (22 females, 6 males). Twenty-seven of the community dialogue participants participated in one of 3 FGDs held after the dialogue. Six evaluators assessed feasibility of the dialogue process. RESULTS:There was good attendance, representation and participation amongst community and provider sectors based on the participant observations using the standardized feasibility check-list. The community dialogue process received positive feedback in the FGDs and was demonstrated to be feasible and acceptable. Key factors contributing to the success of the community dialogue included a skilled facilitator, good representation of participants, establishing ground rules, good timekeeping, and using a Theory of Change to facilitate goal identification and dialogue. Issues to consider are the underlying power differentials related to age, profession and gender which caused initial feelings of anxiety amongst some participants. CONCLUSIONS:Our formative findings offer a systematic description and evaluation of a community dialogue process with key recommendations that may be considered when constituting similar community dialogues in the future.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Community dialogues have been used in participatory approaches in various health prevention and awareness programs, including family planning interventions, to increase understanding and alignment of particular issues from different peoples' perspectives. The main objective of this paper is to document the feasibility of a community dialogue approach, which aimed to promote dialogue between healthcare providers and community members. The feasibility testing was part of formative-phase research needed to design an intervention, with the ultimate goal of increasing the uptake of family planning and contraception. The community dialogue intervention generated discussions on key approaches to improve family planning and contraception provision and uptake. METHODS:Key stages of the community dialogue were undertaken, with representation from healthcare providers and community members. Participants included frontline and managerial health care providers, community health workers, family planning and contraception users, the youth, other stakeholders from the education sector, and civil society. How the dialogue was implemented (operational feasibility) as well as the cultural feasibility of the community dialogue content was evaluated through participant observations during the dialogue, using a standardised feasibility testing tick-list, and through focus group discussions with the stakeholders who participated in the community dialogue. RESULTS:Overall, 21 of the 30 invited participants attended the meeting- 70% attendance. The approach facilitated discussions on how quality care could be achieved in family planning and contraception provision, guided by the ground rules that were agreed upon by the different stakeholders. A need for more time for the discussion was noted. Participants also noted the need for more balanced representation from adolescents as well as other family planning stakeholders, such as community members, especially in comparison to healthcare providers. Some participants were not comfortable with the language used. Young people felt older participants used complicated terminologies while community members felt the health care providers outnumbered them, in terms of representation. CONCLUSION:Generally, the community dialogue was well received by the community members and the healthcare providers, as was observed from the sentiments expressed by both categories. Some key considerations for refining the approach included soliciting maximum participation from otherwise marginalized groups like the youth would provide stronger representation.
Project description:Recent studies in Cameroon after 20 years of implementation of the Community Directed Treatment with ivermectin (CDTI) strategy, revealed mixed results as regards community ownership. This brings into question the feasibility of Community Directed Interventions (CDI) in the country. We carried out qualitative surveys in 3 health districts of Cameroon, consisting of 11 individual interviews and 10 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with specific community members. The main topic discussed during individual interviews and FGDs was about community participation in health. We found an implementation gap in CDTI between the process theory in the 3 health districts. Despite this gap, community eagerness for health information and massive personal and financial adhesion to interventions that were perceived important, were indicators of CDI feasibility. The concept of CDI is culturally feasible in rural and semi-urban settlements, but many challenges hinder its actual implementation. In the view of community participation as a process rather than an intervention, these challenges include real dialogue with communities as partners, dialogue and advocacy with operational level health staff, and macroeconomic and political reforms in health, finance and other associated sectors.
Project description:Social accountability (SA) comprises a set of mechanisms aiming to, on the one hand, enable users to raise their concerns about the health services provided to them (voice), and to hold health providers (HPs) accountable for actions and decisions related to the health service provision. On the other hand, they aim to facilitate HPs to take into account users' needs and expectations in providing care. This article describes the development of a SA intervention that aims to improve health services responsiveness in two health zones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Beneficiaries including men, women, community health workers (CHWs), representatives of the health sector and local authorities were purposively selected and involved in an advisory process using the Dialogue Model in the two health zones: (1) Eight focus group discussions (FGDs) were organized separately during consultation aimed at sharing and discussing results from the situation analysis, and collecting suggestions for improvement, (2) Representatives of participants in previous FGDs were involved in dialogue meetings for prioritizing and integrating suggestions from FGDs, and (3) the integrated suggestions were discussed by research partners and set as intervention components. All the processes were audio-taped, transcribed and analysed using inductive content analysis.Overall there were 121 participants involved in the process, 51 were female. They provided 48 suggestions. Their suggestions were integrated into six intervention components during dialogue meetings: (1) use CHWs and a health committee for collecting and transmitting community concerns about health services, (2) build the capacity of the community in terms of knowledge and information, (3) involve community leaders through dialogue meetings, (4) improve the attitude of HPs towards voice and the management of voice at health facility level, (5) involve the health service supervisors in community participation and; (6) use other existing interventions. These components were then articulated into three intervention components during programming to: create a formal voice system, introduce dialogue meetings improving enforceability and answerability, and enhance the health providers' responsiveness.The use of the Dialogue Model, a participatory process, allowed beneficiaries to be involved with other community stakeholders having different perspectives and types of knowledge in an advisory process and to articulate their suggestions on a combination of SA intervention components, specific for the two health zones contexts.
Project description:This article is part of a series written for people responsible for making decisions about health policies and programmes and for those who support these decision makers. Policy dialogues allow research evidence to be considered together with the views, experiences and tacit knowledge of those who will be involved in, or affected by, future decisions about a high-priority issue. Increasing interest in the use of policy dialogues has been fuelled by a number of factors: 1. The recognition of the need for locally contextualised 'decision support' for policymakers and other stakeholders 2. The recognition that research evidence is only one input into the decision-making processes of policymakers and other stakeholders 3. The recognition that many stakeholders can add significant value to these processes, and 4. The recognition that many stakeholders can take action to address high-priority issues, and not just policymakers. In this article, we suggest questions to guide those organising and using policy dialogues to support evidence-informed policymaking. These are: 1. Does the dialogue address a high-priority issue? 2. Does the dialogue provide opportunities to discuss the problem, options to address the problem, and key implementation considerations? 3. Is the dialogue informed by a pre-circulated policy brief and by a discussion about the full range of factors that can influence the policymaking process? 4. Does the dialogue ensure fair representation among those who will be involved in, or affected by, future decisions related to the issue? 5. Does the dialogue engage a facilitator, follow a rule about not attributing comments to individuals, and not aim for consensus? 6. Are outputs produced and follow-up activities undertaken to support action?
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Use of family planning (FP) is powerfully shaped by social and gender norms, including the perceived acceptability of FP and gender roles that limit women's autonomy and restrict communication and decision-making between men and women. This study evaluated an intervention that catalyzed ongoing community dialogues about gender and FP in Siaya county, Nyanza Province, Kenya. Specifically, we explored the changes in perceived acceptability of FP, gender norms and use of FP. METHODS:We used a mixed-method approach. Information on married men and women's socio-demographic characteristics, pregnancy intentions, gender-related beliefs, FP knowledge, attitudes, and use were collected during county-representative, cross-sectional household surveys at baseline (2009; n11 = 650 women; n12 = 305 men) and endline (2012; n21 = 617 women; n22 = 317 men); exposure to the intervention was measured at endline. We assessed changes in FP use at endline vs. baseline, and fitted multivariate logistic regression models for FP use to examine its association with intervention exposure and explore other predictors of use at endline. In-depth, qualitative interviews with 10 couples at endline further explored enablers and barriers to FP use. RESULTS:At baseline, 34.0% of women and 27.9% of men used a modern FP method compared to 51.2% and 52.2%, respectively, at endline (p<0.05). Exposure to FP dialogues was associated with 1.78 (95% CI: 1.20-2.63) times higher odds of using a modern FP method at endline for women, but this association was not significant for men. Women's use of modern FP was significantly associated with higher spousal communication, control over own cash earnings, and FP self-efficacy. Men who reported high approval of FP were significantly more likely to use modern FP if reporting high approval of FP and more equitable gender beliefs. FP dialogues addressed persistent myths and misconceptions, normalized FP discussions, and increased its acceptability. Public examples of couples making joint FP decisions legitimized communication and decision-making with spouses about FP especially for men; women described partner support as key enabler of FP use. CONCLUSIONS:Our evaluation demonstrates that an intervention that catalyzes open dialogue about gender and FP can shift social norms, enable more equitable couple communication and decision-making and, ultimately, increase use of FP.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Child Health Services in Sweden is a well-attended health promoting setting, and thereby has an important role in promoting healthy living habits in families with young children. Due to lack of national recommendations for health dialogues, a Child Centred Health Dialogue (CCHD) model was developed and tested in two Swedish municipalities. The aim of this study was to explore parents' experiences of health dialogues based on the CCHD model focusing on food and eating habits during the scheduled child health visit at four years of age. METHODS:A qualitative design with purposeful sampling was used. Twelve individual interviews with parents were conducted and analysed with qualitative content analysis. RESULTS:The analysis resulted in three categories: The health dialogue provides guidance and understanding; Illustrations promote the health dialogue; and Space for children and parents in the health dialogue. In addition, analysis of the latent content resulted in a single theme reflecting the parents' voice on the importance of having a health dialogue on food and eating habits. The health dialogue, promoted by illustrations, provided guidance and understanding, and gave space for children's and parents' involvement. CONCLUSIONS:The results indicate that health dialogues using the CCHD- model create supportive conditions for family members' active participation in the visits, which may strengthen empowerment and health literacy. The study provides knowledge and guidance for further development, evaluation and implementation of the model.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Many simple, affordable and effective disease control measures have had limited impact due to poor access especially by the poorer populations (urban and rural) and inadequate community participation. A proven strategy to address the problem of access to health interventions is the Community Directed Interventions (CDI) approach, which has been used successfully in rural areas. This study was carried out to assess resources for the use of a CDI strategy in delivering health interventions in poorly-served urban communities in Ibadan, Nigeria. METHODS: A formative study was carried out in eight urban poor communities in the Ibadan metropolis in the Oyo State. Qualitative methods comprising 12 focus group discussions (FGDs) with community members and 73 key informant interviews (KIIs) with community leaders, programme managers, community-based organisations (CBOs), non-government organisations (NGOs) and other stakeholders at federal, state and local government levels were used to collect data to determine prevalent diseases and healthcare delivery services, as well as to explore the potential resources for a CDI strategy. All interviews were audio recorded. Content analysis was used to analyse the data. RESULTS: Malaria, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhoea and measles were found to be prevalent in children, while hypertension and diabetes topped the list of diseases among adults. Healthcare was financed mainly by out-of-pocket expenses. Cost and location were identified as hindrances to utilisation of health facilities; informal cooperatives (esusu) were available to support those who could not pay for care. Immunisation, nutrition, reproductive health, tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy, environmental health, malaria and HIV/AIDs control programmes were the ongoing interventions. Delivery strategies included house-to-house, home-based treatment, health education and campaigns. Community participation in the planning, implementation and monitoring of development projects was reported as common practice. The resources available for these activities and which constitute potential resources for the CDI process include community volunteers, CBOs and NGOs. Others are landlords; professional, women and youth associations; social clubs, religious organisations and the available health facilities. CONCLUSION: This study's findings support the feasibility of using the CDI process in delivering health interventions in urban poor communities and show that potential resources for the strategy abound in the communities.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:In 2011, WHO, the European Union and Luxembourg entered into a collaborative agreement to support policy dialogue for health planning and financing; these were acknowledged as core areas in need of targeted support in countries' quest towards universal health coverage (UHC). Entitled 'Universal Health Coverage Partnership', this intervention is intended to strengthen countries' capacity to develop, negotiate, implement, monitor and evaluate robust and integrated national health policies oriented towards UHC. It is a complex intervention involving a multitude of actors working on a significant number of remarkably diverse activities in different countries. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:The researchers will conduct a realist evaluation to answer the following question: How, in what contexts, and triggering what mechanisms, does the Partnership support policy dialogue for health planning and financing towards UHC? A qualitative multiple case study will be undertaken in Togo, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cape Verde, Burkina Faso and Niger. Three steps will be implemented: (1) formulating context-mechanism-outcome explanatory propositions to guide data collection, based on expert knowledge and theoretical literature; (2) collecting empirical data through semistructured interviews with key informants and observations of key events, and analysing data; (3) specifying the intervention theory. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:The primary target audiences are WHO and its partner countries; international and national stakeholders involved in or supporting policy dialogues in the health sector, especially in low-income countries; and researchers with interest in UHC, policy dialogue, evaluation research and/or realist evaluation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Persons with developmental disabilities (PWDD) face a number of individual, environmental and societal barriers when seeking employment. Integrated knowledge translation (IKT) involves ongoing and dynamic interactions between researchers and stakeholders for the purpose of engaging in mutually beneficial research to address these types of multi-faceted barriers. There is a knowledge gap in the IKT literature on effective stakeholder engagement strategies outside of the dissemination stage to inform policy. In this paper, we report on a number of engagement strategies employed over a 2-year period to engage a wide range of stakeholders in different stages of an IKT project that aimed to investigate the 'wicked' problem of employment for PWDD. METHOD:Our engagement plan included multiple linked strategies and was designed to ensure the meaningful engagement of, and knowledge co-production with, stakeholders. We held two participatory consensus-building stakeholder policy dialogue events to co-produce knowledge utilising the nominal group technique and the modified Delphi technique. A total of 31 and 49 stakeholders engaged in the first and second events, respectively, from six key stakeholder groups. Focused engagement strategies were employed to build on the stakeholder dialogues for knowledge mobilisation and included a focus group attended only by PWDD, a stakeholder workshop attended only by policy/decision-makers, a webinar attended by human resources professionals and employers, and a current affairs panel attended by the general public. RESULTS:Our findings suggest that the level of engagement for each stakeholder group varies depending on the goal and need of the project. Our stakeholder dialogue findings highlight the inherent challenges in co-framing and knowledge co-production through the meaningful engagement of multiple stakeholders who hold different ideas and interests. Focused outreach is needed to foster relationships and trust for meaningful engagement. CONCLUSIONS:In addition to providing guidance on how to implement adaptable meaningful engagement strategies, these findings contribute to discussions on how IKT projects are planned and funded. More studies to explore effective mechanisms for engaging a wide range of stakeholders in IKT research are needed. More evidence of successful engagement strategies employed by researchers to achieve meaningful knowledge co-production is also key to advancing the discipline.
Project description:Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease of veterinary, public health, and economic significance in most developing countries, yet there are few studies that show integrated human and veterinary health care intervention focusing on integration at both activity and actors levels. The aim of our study, therefore, was to explore community perceptions on integration of animal vaccination and health education by veterinary and public health workers in the management of brucellosis in Uganda.This study used a qualitative design where six Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) that were homogenous in nature were conducted, two from each sub-county, one with the local leaders, and another with pastoralists and farmers. Five Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) with two public health workers and three veterinary extension workers from three sub-counties in Kiruhura district, Uganda were conducted. All FGDs were conducted in the local language and tape recorded with consent from the participants. KIIs were in English and later transcribed and analyzed using latent content data analysis method.All the groups mentioned that they lacked awareness on brucellosis commonly known as Brucella and its vaccination in animals. Respondents perceived improvement in human resources in terms of training and recruiting more health personnel, facilitation of the necessary activities such as sensitization of the communities about brucellosis, and provision of vaccines and diagnostic tests as very important in the integration process in the communities. The FGD participants also believed that community participation was crucial for sustainability and ownership of the integration process.The respondents reported limited knowledge of brucellosis and its vaccination in animals. The community members believed that mass animal vaccination in combination with health education about the disease is important and possible if it involves government and all other stakeholders such as wildlife authorities, community members, local to national political leaders, as well as the technical personnel from veterinary, medical and public health sectors since it affects both humans and animals.