Family Planning Practices in Appalachia: Focus Group Perspectives on Service Needs in the Context of Regional Substance Abuse.
ABSTRACT: Reproductive health disparities in the Appalachian region may be driven by barriers to healthcare access. However, the barriers specific to accessing family planning services in Appalachia have not yet been identified from the perspectives of Appalachian community members. Moreover, it is unclear how community members might perceive elevated levels of opioid use in the region to impact family planning practices. To fill this gap in knowledge, the current qualitative study explored community perspectives about family planning in Appalachia in the context of the opioid epidemic for the purpose of developing a survey instrument based on these responses. We conducted three video call focus group interviews with community stakeholders, those who live, work and are invested in Appalachia (N = 16), and analyzed the responses using Levesque, Harris, and Russell's (2013) five pillars of healthcare access as a framework to categorize family planning practices and perceptions of service needs in the context of regional substance abuse: (1) approachability, (2) acceptability, (3) availability and accommodation, (4) affordability, and (5) appropriateness. Subthemes within each of these five categories were also identified. Our findings highlight stakeholder concerns around a lack of knowledge about and access to family planning services in Appalachia. Community members also expressed concern around the lack of availability of substance use treatment services, which may negatively impact family planning use and access in the region.
Project description:Challenges to the identification of hereditary cancer in primary care may be more pronounced in rural Appalachia, a medically underserved region.To examine primary care physicians' identification of hereditary cancers.A cross-sectional survey was mailed to family physicians in the midwestern and southeastern United States, stratified by rural/non-rural and Appalachian/non-Appalachian practice location (n = 176). Identification of hereditary breast-ovarian cancer (BRCA1/2), hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), and other hereditary cancers was assessed.Less than half of physicians (45%) reported having patients with cancer genetic testing. Most (70%) correctly identified the BRCA1/2-relevant scenario; 49% correctly identified the HNPCC-relevant scenario. Factor analysis of psychosocial variables revealed 2 factors: Confidence (knowledge, comfort, confidence) and importance (responsible, important, effective, need) of identifying hereditary cancer. Greater confidence was associated with use of 3 generation pedigree in taking family history. Greater knowledge and access to genetic services were associated with use of genetic testing. More recent graduation year, greater knowledge, and greater confidence were associated with identifying the BRCA1/2-relevant scenario. Greater knowledge and confidence were associated with identifying the HNPCC-relevant scenario.Though rural Appalachian physicians do not differ in ability to identify high risk individuals, access barriers may exist for genetic testing. Interventions are needed to boost physician confidence in identifying hereditary cancer and to improve availability and awareness of availability of genetic services.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Despite overall improvements in the U.S. health care, older adults living in rural counties, such as Appalachian Virginia, continue to be underserved. METHOD:Multinomial regression models, including both individual and county data from 503 older adults aged 65+, were used to examine factors associated with informal and formal care use. RESULTS:Older adults with stronger filial beliefs and less positive attitudes toward community services preferred informal help. If the county had more formal care services, however, older adults were more likely to use them, regardless of their filial beliefs. Disparities based on gender were observed, in that women who lived in counties with a higher percentage of older adults below the poverty line were more likely to receive no help than men. DISCUSSION:Developing effective service promotion tactics, destigmatizing community services, and targeting services and support, especially to women, could decrease health disparities in rural Appalachia and similar geographic areas.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Limited literature is available about cancer in the Appalachian Region. This is the only known analysis of all cancers for Appalachia and non-Appalachia covering 100% of the US population. Appalachian cancer incidence and trends were evaluated by state, sex, and race and compared with those found in non-Appalachian regions. METHODS:US counties were identified as Appalachian or non-Appalachian. Age-adjusted cancer incidence rates, standard errors, and confidence intervals were calculated using the most recent data from the United States Cancer Statistics for 2004 to 2011. RESULTS:Generally, Appalachia carries a higher cancer burden compared with non-Appalachia, particularly for tobacco-related cancers. For all cancer sites combined, Appalachia has higher rates regardless of sex, race, or region. The Appalachia and non-Appalachia cancer incidence gap has narrowed, with the exception of oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, lung and bronchus, and thyroid cancers. CONCLUSIONS:Higher cancer incidence continues in Appalachia and appears at least in part to reflect high tobacco use and potential differences in socioeconomic status, other risk factors, patient health care utilization, or provider practices. It is important to continue to evaluate this population to monitor results from screening and early detection programs, understand behavioral risk factors related to cancer incidence, increase efforts to reduce tobacco use and increase cancer screening, and identify other areas where effective interventions may mediate disparities. IMPACT:Surveillance and evaluation of special populations provide means to monitor screening and early detection programs, understand behavioral risk factors, and increase efforts to reduce tobacco use to mediate disparities.
Project description:The highly rural region of Appalachia faces considerable socioeconomic disadvantage and health disparities that are recognized risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV). The objective of this study was to estimate the rate of IPV-related hospitalizations in Appalachia and the non-Appalachian United States for 2007-2011 and compare hospitalizations in each region by clinical and sociodemographic factors. Data on IPV-related hospitalizations were extracted from the State Inpatient Databases, which are part of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. Hospitalization day, year, in-hospital mortality, length of stay, average and total hospital charges, sex, age, payer, urban-rural location, income, diagnoses and procedures were compared between Appalachian and non-Appalachian counties. Poisson regression models were constructed to test differences in the rate of IPV-related hospitalizations between both regions. From 2007-2011, there were 7,385 hospitalizations related to IPV, with one-third (2,645) occurring in Appalachia. After adjusting for age and rurality, Appalachian counties had a 22% higher hospitalization rate than non-Appalachian counties (ARR = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.14-1.31). Appalachian residents may be at increased risk for IPV and associated conditions. Exploring disparities in healthcare utilization and costs associated with IPV in Appalachia is critical for the development of programs to effectively target the needs of this population.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common chronic disease with significant morbidity and mortality, particularly for M?ori, which places a large burden on the New Zealand (NZ) health system. We undertook a qualitative study as part of a mixed-methods implementation research project which aimed to determine the barriers and enablers to the provision of accessible high-quality COPD care. SETTING:Southern Health Region of NZ (Otago and Southland). PARTICIPANTS:Thirteen health professional stakeholders and 23 patients with severe COPD (including one M?ori and one Pasifika participant). METHODS:Semistructured interviews were undertaken. A thematic analysis using the Levesque conceptual framework for access to healthcare was conducted. RESULTS:Health professional stakeholders identified barriers to providing access to health services, in particular: availability (inadequate staffing and resourcing of specialist services and limited geographical availability of pulmonary rehabilitation), affordability (both of regular medication, medication needed for an exacerbation of COPD and the copayment charge for seeing a general practitioner) and appropriateness (a shared model of care across primary and secondary care was needed to facilitate better delivery of key interventions such as pulmonary rehabilitation and advance care planning (ACP). M?ori stakeholders highlighted the importance of communication and relationships and the role of wh?nau (extended family) for support. Patients' accounts showed variable ability to access services through having a limited understanding of what COPD is, a limited knowledge of services they could access, being unable to attend pulmonary rehabilitation (due to comorbidities) and direct (medication and copayment charges) and indirect (transport) costs. CONCLUSIONS:People with severe COPD experience multilevel barriers to accessing healthcare in the NZ health system along the pathway of care from diagnosis to ACP. These need to be addressed by local health services if this group of patients are to receive high-quality care.
Project description:Unmet need for contraception results in several health challenges such as unintended pregnancies, unwanted births and unsafe abortions. Most interventions have been unable to successfully address this unmet need due to various community and health system level factors. Identifying these inhibiting and enabling factors prior to implementation of interventions forms the basis for planning efforts to increase met needs. This qualitative study was part of the formative phase of a larger research project that aimed to develop an intervention to increase met needs for contraception through community and health system participation. The specific study component reported here explores barriers and enablers to family planning and contraceptive services provision and utilisation at community and health systems levels.Twelve focus group discussions were conducted with community members (n?=?114) and two with healthcare providers (n?=?19). Ten in-depth interviews were held with key stakeholders. The study was conducted in Kabwe district, Zambia. Interviews/discussions were translated and transcribed verbatim. Data were coded and organised using NVivo 10 (QSR international), and were analysed using thematic analysis.Health systems barriers include long distances to healthcare facilities, stock-outs of preferred methods, lack of policies facilitating contraceptive provision in schools, and undesirable provider attitudes. Community level barriers comprise women's experience with contraceptive side effects, myths, rumours and misconceptions, societal stigma, and negative traditional and religious beliefs. On the other hand, health systems enablers consist of political will from government to expand contraceptive services access, integration of contraceptive services, provision of couples counselling, and availability of personnel to offer basic methods mix. Functional community health system structures, community desire to delay pregnancy, and knowledge of contraceptive services are enablers at a community level.These study findings highlight key community and health systems factors that should be considered by policy, program planners and implementers in the design and implementation of family planning and contraceptive services programmes, to ensure sustained uptake and increased met needs for contraceptive methods and services.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Community health workers, known as Village Health Teams (VHTs) in Uganda, play a central role in increasing access to community-based health services. The objective of this research is to explore tensions that may emerge as VHTs navigate multiple roles as community members and care providers particularly when providing sensitive reproductive health and HIV care. METHODS:Twenty-five VHTs from a rural clinic in Uganda completed semi-structured interviews focused on experiences providing services. Interview questions focused on challenges VHTs face providing services and strategies for improving quality care. After translation from Luganda and transcription, interviews were analyzed using content analysis to identify emergent themes. RESULTS:Most VHTs were female (n = 16). The average age was 46, and average length of VHT work, 11 years. Analyses revealed that all VHTs capitalized upon the duality of their position, shifting roles depending upon context. Three themes emerged around VHTs' perceptions of their roles: community insiders, professional outsiders, and intermediaries. A caregiver "insider" role facilitated rapport and discussion of sensitive issues. As community members, VHTs leveraged existing community structures to educate clients in familiar settings such as "drinking places". However, this role posed challenges as some VHTs felt compelled to share their own resources including food and transport money. Occupying a professional outsider role offered VHTs respect. Their specialized knowledge gave them authority to counsel others on effective forms of family planning. However, some VHTs faced opposition, suspicions about their motives, and violence in this role. In balancing these two roles, the VHTs adopted a third as intermediaries, connecting the community to services in the formalized health care system. Participants suggested that additional training, ongoing supervision, and the opportunity to collaborate with other VHTs would help them better navigate their different roles and, ultimately, improve the quality of service. CONCLUSIONS:As countries scale up family planning and HIV services using VHTs, supportive supervision and ethical dilemma training are recommended so VHTs are prepared for the challenges of assuming multiple roles within communities.
Project description:To model the relationship of an area-based measure of a breast cancer screening and geographic area deprivation on the incidence of later stage breast cancer (LSBC) across a diverse region of Appalachia.Central cancer registry data (2006-2008) from three Appalachian states were linked to Medicare claims and census data.Exploratory spatial analysis preceded the statistical model based on negative binomial regression to model predictors and effect modification by geographic subregions.Exploratory spatial analysis revealed geographically varying effects of area deprivation and screening on LSBC. In the negative binomial regression model, predictors of LSBC included receipt of screening, area deprivation, supply of mammography centers, and female population aged>75 years. The most deprived counties had a 3.31 times greater rate of LSBC compared to the least deprived. Effect of screening on LSBC was significantly stronger in northern Appalachia than elsewhere in the study region, found mostly for high-population counties.Breast cancer screening and area deprivation are strongly associated with disparity in LBSC in Appalachia. The presence of geographically varying predictors of later stage tumors in Appalachia suggests the importance of place-based health care access and risk.
Project description:Momentum for family planning in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is evident in multiple ways: strong political will, increasing donor support, a growing number of implementing organizations, innovative family planning programming, and a cohesive family planning stakeholder group. Between 2013 and 2017, the modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) in the capital city of Kinshasa increased from 18.5% to 26.7% among married women, but as of 2013-14, it was only 7.8% at the national level. The National Multisectoral Strategic Plan for Family Planning: 2014-2020 calls for achieving an mCPR of 19.0% by 2020, an ambitious goal in light of formidable challenges to family planning in the DRC. Of the 16,465 health facilities reporting to the national health information system in 2017, only 40% offer family planning services. Key challenges include uncertainty over the political situation, difficulties of ensuring access to family planning services in a vast country with a weak transportation infrastructure, funding shortfalls for procuring adequate quantities of contraceptives, weak contraceptive logistics and supply chain management, strong cultural norms that favor large families, and low capacity of the population to pay for contraceptive services. This article describes promising initiatives designed to address these barriers, consistent with the World Health Organization's framework for health systems strengthening. For example, the national family planning coordinating mechanism is being replicated at the provincial level to oversee the expansion of family planning service delivery. Promising initiatives are being implemented to improve the supply and quality of services and generate demand for family planning, including social marketing of subsidized contraceptives at both traditional and non-traditional channels and strengthening of services in military health facilities. To expand contraceptive access, family planning is being institutionalized in nursing schools, allowing students to operate as community-based distributors. While major challenges remain, significant progress in family planning has been made in the DRC, which should be judged not in comparison with sub-Saharan African countries with high mCPR and mature programs, but rather with those starting from much further behind.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Numerous studies have examined the role of community health workers (CHWs) in improving the delivery of health services and accelerating progress towards national and international development goals. A limited but growing body of studies have also explored the interactions between CHWs' personal, communal and professional identities and the implications of these for their profession. CHWs possess multiple, overlapping roles and identities, which makes them effective primary health care providers when properly supported with adequate resources, but it also limits their ability to implement interventions that only target certain members of their community, follow standard business working days and hours. In some situations, it even prevents them from performing certain duties when it comes to sensitive topics such as family planning. METHODS:To understand the multiple identities of CHWs, a mixture of qualitative and ethnographic methods was utilized, such as participant observation, open-ended and semi-structured interviews, and focus group discussions with CHWs, their supervisors, and their clients. The observation period began in October 2013 and ended in June 2014. This study was based on implementation research conducted by the Connect Project in Rufiji, Ulanga and Kilombero Districts in Tanzania and aimed to understand the role of CHWs in the provision of maternal and child health services in rural areas. RESULTS:To our knowledge, this was the first study that employed an ethnographic approach to examine the relationship between personal, communal and professional identities, and its implications for CHWs' work in Tanzania. Our findings suggest that it is difficult to distinguish between personal and professional identities among CHWs in rural areas. Important aspects of CHW services such as personalization, access, and equity of health services were influenced by CHWs' position as local agents. However, the study also found that their personal identity sometimes inhibited CHWs in speaking about issues related to family planning and sexual health. Being local, CHWs were viewed according to the social norms of the area that consider the gender and age of each worker, which tended to constrain their work in family planning and other areas. Furthermore, the communities welcomed and valued CHWs when they had curative medicines; however, when medical stocks were delayed, the community viewed the CHWs with suspicion and disinterest. Community members who received curative services from CHWs also tended to become more receptive to their preventative health care work. CONCLUSION:Although CHWs' multiple roles constrained certain aspects of their work in line with prevalent social norms, overall, the multiple roles they fulfilled had a positive effect by keeping CHWs embedded in their community and earned them trust from community members, which enhanced their ability to provide personalized, equitable and relevant services. However, CHWs needed a support system that included functional supply chains, supervision, and community support to help them retain their role as health care providers and enabled them to provide curative, preventative, and referral services.