To assess reasons for low uptake of immunization amongst orthodox Jewish families.
Qualitative interviews with 25 orthodox Jewish mothers and 10 local health care workers.
The orthodox Jewish community in North East London.
Main outcome measures
Identification of views on immunization in the orthodox Jewish community.
In a community assumed to be relatively insulated from direct media influence, word of mouth is nevertheless a potent source of rumours about vaccination dangers. The origins of these may lie in media scares that contribute to anxieties about MMR. At the same time, close community cohesion leads to a sense of relative safety in relation to tuberculosis, with consequent low rates of BCG uptake. Thus low uptake of different immunizations arises from enhanced feelings of both safety and danger. Low uptake was not found to be due to the practical difficulties associated with large families, or to perceived insensitive cultural practices of health care providers.
The views and practices of members of this community are not homogeneous and may change over time. It is important that assumptions concerning the role of religious beliefs do not act as an obstacle for providing clear messages concerning immunization, and community norms may be challenged by explicitly using its social networks to communicate more positive messages about immunization. The study provides a useful example of how social networks may reinforce or challenge misinformation about health and risk and the complex nature of decision making about children's health.
OBJECTIVE: To describe cultural beliefs of Orthodox Jewish families regarding childbirth in order to help family physicians enhance the quality and sensitivity of their care. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: These findings were based on a review of the literature searched in MEDLINE (1966 to present), HEALTHSTAR (1975 to present), EMBASE (1988 to present), and Social Science Abstracts (1984 to present). Interviews with several members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Edmonton, Alta, and Vancouver, BC, were conducted to determine the accuracy of the information presented and the relevance of the paper to the current state of health care delivery from the recipients' point of view. MAIN MESSAGE: Customs and practices surrounding childbirth in the Orthodox Jewish tradition differ in several practical respects from expectations and practices within the Canadian health care system. The information presented was deemed relevant and accurate by those interviewed, and the subject matter was considered to be important for improving communication between patients and physicians. Improved communication and recognition of these differences can improve the quality of health care provided to these patients. CONCLUSIONS: Misunderstandings rooted in different cultural views of childbirth and the events surrounding it can adversely affect health care provided to women in the Orthodox Jewish community in Canada. A basic understanding of the cultural foundations of potential misunderstandings will help Canadian physicians provide effective health care to Orthodox Jewish women.
This paper examines some of the traditional texts that deal with sexuality, birth control and childbirth in the orthodox Jewish tradition and presents the rules governing these areas. For instance, a married woman should avoid being alone with a male physician unless other people are in earshot and have access to the room. A husband and wife must separate during the woman's menses and for the first 7 days afterward. Contraception is permitted if childbearing would endanger a woman's life or health. Termination of pregnancy is also permitted to preserve a woman's health, including her mental health. During childbirth the health of the mother is primary and supercedes all other rules or laws, including those of Sabbath observance. In general, orthodox Jewish women try to live as much as possible within the framework of Halacha. These customs are examined as examples of the need for sensitivity to cultural norms that affect the behaviour of different ethnic groups.
Jewish bioethics in the contemporary era emerges from the traditional practice of applying principles of Jewish law (Halacha) to ethical dilemmas. The Bible (written law) and the Talmud (oral law) are the foundational texts on which such deliberations are based. Interpretation of passages in these texts attempts to identify the duties of physicians, patients and families faced with difficult health care decisions. Although Jewish law is an integral consideration of religiously observant Jews, secularized Jewish patients often welcome the wisdom of their tradition when considering treatment options. Jewish bioethics exemplifies how an ethical system based on duties may differ from the secular rights-based model prevalent in North American society.
BACKGROUND: General practitioners and the microbiologist serving north Hackney in north east London formed the impression, that of throat swabs sent to the laboratory, a disproportionate number of those positive for group A streptococcus appeared to come from Orthodox Jewish patients. AIM: To confirm the clinical impression that the pharyngeal carriage of group A streptococci was higher in the Orthodox Jewish population than in other members of the population in the same locality. DESIGN OF STUDY: A general practice questionnaire survey of all patients aged three years or over attending two practices that are about one kilometre apart, over a five-week period. SETTING: Two general practices in north London, one of which had a significant Orthodox Jewish patient list. METHODS: Throat swabs were taken from eligible patients who were invited to participate by completing a questionnaire and having a throat swab taken. RESULTS: Swabs were taken from 1223 people. After correction for age (child or adult) and history of recent sore throat, the Orthodox Jewish community had a significantly higher carriage rate of group A streptococci than the rest of the population (odds ratio = 5.0 [2.1 to 11.9]). The proportion of adults with group A streptococci with and without sore throats was 6.4% and 2.4% respectively in the Orthodox Jewish group and 0.45% and 1% respectively in the 'others' group. The proportion of children with group A streptococci with and without sore throats was 17.4% and 5.9% respectively and 3.4% and 0% respectively in the others. These differences were not explained by the larger family size and domestic overcrowding in the Orthodox Jewish group. CONCLUSIONS: Orthodox Jews in north London have a higher pharyngeal carriage rate of group A streptococci than the neighbouring population. These results may have implications for the diagnosis and treatment of acute sore throat in Orthodox Jewish patients, especially children.
Global policy regarding optimal umbilical cord care to prevent neonatal illness is an active discussion among researchers and policy makers. In preparation for a large cluster-randomized control trial to measure the impact of 4% chlorhexidine as an umbilical wash versus dry cord care on neonatal mortality in Southern Province, Zambia, we performed a qualitative study to determine local perceptions of cord health and illness and the cultural belief system that shapes umbilical cord care knowledge, attitudes, and practices.
Methods and Findings
This study consisted of 36 focus group discussions with breastfeeding mothers, grandmothers, and traditional birth attendants, and 42 in-depth interviews with key community informants. Semi-structured field guides were used to lead discussions and interviews at urban and rural sites. A wide variation in knowledge, beliefs, and practices surrounding cord care was discovered. For home deliveries, cords were cut with non-sterile razor blades or local grass. Cord applications included drying agents (e.g., charcoal, baby powder, dust), lubricating agents (e.g., Vaseline, cooking oil, used motor oil) and agents intended for medicinal/protective purposes (e.g., breast milk, cow dung, chicken feces). Concerns regarding the length of time until cord detachment were universally expressed. Blood clots in the umbilical cord, bulongo-longo, were perceived to foreshadow neonatal illness. Management of bulongo-longo or infected umbilical cords included multiple traditional remedies and treatment at government health centers.
Umbilical cord care practices and beliefs were diverse. Dry cord care, as recommended by the World Health Organization at the time of the study, is not widely practiced in Southern Province, Zambia. A cultural health systems model that depicts all stakeholders is proposed as an approach for policy makers and program implementers to work synergistically with existing cultural beliefs and practices in order to maximize effectiveness of evidence-based interventions.
This paper provides the results of a year-long evaluation of a large-scale integrated care pilot in north-west London. The pilot aimed to integrate care across primary, acute, community, mental health and social care for people with diabetes and/or those aged 75+ through care planning, multidisciplinary case reviews, information sharing and project management support.
The evaluation team conducted qualitative studies of change at organisational, clinician and patient levels (using interviews, focus groups and a survey); and quantitative analysis of change in service use and patient-level clinical outcomes (using patient-level datasets and a matched control study).
The pilot had successfully engaged provider organisations, created a shared strategic vision and established governance structures. However, the engagement of clinicians was variable and there was no evidence to date of significant reductions in emergency admissions. There was some evidence of changes in care processes.
Although the pilot has demonstrated the beginnings of large-scale change, it remains in the early stages and faces significant challenges as it seeks to become sustainable for the longer term. It is critical that National Health Service managers and clinicians have realistic expectations of what can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.
integrated health care systems; health services research; health care; reform; patient-centred care; evaluation studies
To explore tuberculosis (TB) service users’ experiences and satisfaction with care provision.
Thirty-nine percent of all new UK TB cases occur in London. Prevalence varies considerably between and within boroughs. Overall, research suggests inadequate control of London’s TB transmission; TB has become a health care priority for all London Primary Care Trusts. Service users’ experiences and satisfaction with care provision have not been explored adequately previously.
A qualitative research design, using semi-structured face-to-face interviews was used. Ten service users, purposively selected in key risk groups across London, were interviewed. All interviews were digitally recorded with users’ permission, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically.
Participants were treated in local hospitals for 6–12 months. Treatment was administered by TB nurses to inpatients and outpatients receiving directly observed therapy in consultation with medical staff and home visits for complex cases. Two participants did not realize the importance of compliance. Overall, they were satisfied with many TB services’ aspects, communication, and service organization. Early access, low suspicion index amongst some GPs, and restricted referral routes were identified as service barriers. Other improvement areas were information provision on drug side effects, diet, nutritional status, and a few health professionals’ attitudes. The effects on people varied enormously from minimal impact to psychological shock; TB also affected social and personal aspects of their life. With regard to further support facilities, some positive views on managed accommodation by TB-aware professionals for those with accommodation problems were identified.
This first in-depth study of TB service users’ experiences across London offers valuable insights into service users’ experiences, providing information and recommendations for a strategic framework for TB service organization and delivery. Overall, further research is needed; TB services – local, national, and international – need to be more closely aligned with service users’ complex needs.
qualitative study; interviews; TB; service organization; services improvement
To elicit the explanatory models (EM) of hypertension among patients in a hospital-based primary care practice in Nigeria.
Semi-structured in-depth individual interviews and focus groups were conducted with 62 hypertensive patients. Interviews and focus groups were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis was guided by phenomenology and content analysis using qualitative research software ATLAS.ti 5.0.
Patients expressed four categories of EM of hypertension: 1) perceptions of hypertension, 2) consequences, 3) effect on daily life, and 4) perception of treatment. Focus group discussions and key informant interviews yielded a wide range of insights into the social and cultural factors influencing patients’ beliefs and health behavior. Participants were aware of the risks of hypertension. There was disagreement between participants’ own understanding of the serious nature of hypertension, the need for long-term treatment, and the desire to take medication long-term. Participants acknowledged the use of traditional medicine (e.g. teas and herbs) and healers. Different themes emerged for men versus women such that women often focused on family issues while men tended to discuss external stressors stemming from work as a cause of hypertension. Men were concerned with frequent urination, decreased libido and erectile dysfunction.
Knowledge gained will inform development of patient-centered treatment plans and targeted behavioral and educational interventions.
Hypertension; Nigerians; Explanatory models; illness representations; sub- Saharan Africa; Qualitative Study
Responses to public health need require information on the distribution of mental and physical ill health by demographic and socioeconomic factors at the local community level.
The South East London Community Health (SELCoH) study is a community psychiatric and physical morbidity survey. Trained interviewers conducted face-to-face computer assisted interviews with 1698 adults aged 16 years and over, from 1076 randomly selected private households in two south London boroughs. We compared the prevalence of common mental disorders, hazardous alcohol use, long standing illness and general physical health by demographic and socioeconomic indicators. Unadjusted and models adjusted for demographic and socioeconomic indicators are presented for all logistic regression models.
Of those in the sample, 24.2% reported common mental disorder and 44.9% reported having a long standing illness, with 15.7% reporting hazardous alcohol consumption and 19.2% rating their health as fair or poor. The pattern of indicators identifying health inequalities for common mental disorder, poor general health and having a long term illness is similar; individuals who are socioeconomically disadvantaged have poorer health and physical health worsens as age increases for all groups. The prevalence of poor health outcomes by ethnic group suggests that there are important differences between groups, particularly for common mental disorder and poor general health. Higher socioeconomic status was protective for common mental disorder, fair or poor health and long standing illness, but those with higher socioeconomic status reported higher levels of hazardous alcohol use. The proportion of participants who met the criteria for common mental disorder with co-occurring functional limitations was similar or greater to those with poor physical health.
Health service providers and policy makers should prioritise high risk, socially defined groups in combating inequalities in individual and co-occurring poor mental and physical problems. In population terms, poor mental health has a similar or greater burden on functional impairment than long term conditions and perceived health.
Lack of support for breastfeeding mothers has been consistently identified in the literature as a barrier for breastfeeding across racial and ethnic groups. Using a community-based participatory approach, academic and community-based partners conducted an iterative process to assess barriers, facilitators and potential mediating interventions for breastfeeding in the African-American community in Durham, North Carolina.
Eight focus groups were conducted with African-American mothers, fathers and grandmothers. Researchers transcribed and coded each focus group and analyzed using Atlas ti. 5.2. Patterns and themes that emerged informed the development of community stakeholder interviews; 41 interviews were conducted with community representatives. These findings informed the development of a support group pilot intervention. The pilot support groups were evaluated for increase in knowledge of attendees.
Focus group and community interviews indicate that African Americans may disproportionately experience inadequate support for breastfeeding. This lack of support was reported in the home, the workplace, among peers, and from healthcare providers. The pilot support groups resulted in increased knowledge of breastfeeding among group participants OR=3.6 (95% CI: 2.5, 5.2).
The findings from this research underscore the importance of a multi-level approach to breastfeeding support for African American women to address breastfeeding disparities.
Human lactation; Infants; Health policy
The publication of Best research for best health in 2006 and the “ring-fencing” of health research funding in England marked the start of a period of change for health research governance and the structure of research funding in England. One response to bridging the ‘second translational gap’ between research knowledge and clinical practice was the establishment of nine Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs). The goal of this paper is to assess how national-level understanding of the aims and objectives of the CLAHRCs translated into local implementation and practice in North West London.
This study uses a variation of Goffman’s frame analysis to trace the development of the initial national CLAHRC policy to its implementation at three levels. Data collection and analysis were qualitative through interviews, document analysis and embedded research.
Analysis at the macro (national policy), meso (national programme) and micro (North West London) levels shows a significant common understanding of the aims and objectives of the policy and programme. Local level implementation in North West London was also consistent with these.
The macro-meso-micro frame analysis is a useful way of studying the transition of a policy from high-level idea to programme in action. It could be used to identify differences at a local (micro) level in the implementation of multi-site programmes that would help understand differences in programme effectiveness.
Policy implementation; Policy analysis; Frame analysis; Knowledge translation; Health services research; Translational gap
Objectives: To describe the demographic and behavioural factors associated with HIV testing among migrant Africans in London.
Methods: A cross sectional survey of migrants from five sub-Saharan African communities (Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe) resident in London was carried out. The study formed part of a larger community based participatory research initiative with migrant African communities in London—the MAYISHA project. Trained, ethnically matched interviewers recruited study participants in a variety of community venues. A brief self completion questionnaire collected data on demographic characteristics, utilisation of sexual health services, HIV testing history, sexual behaviour, and attitudes.
Results: Valid questionnaires were obtained from 748 participants (396 men and 352 women), median ages 31 and 27 years, respectively. Median length of UK residence was 6 years. 34% of men and 30% of women reported ever having had an HIV test. HIV testing was significantly associated with age and previous STI diagnosis among women; and additionally, nationality, education, employment, and self perceived risk of acquiring HIV among men. After controlling for significant demographic variables, previous diagnosis of an STI (adjusted odds ratio and 95% confidence interval for men: 2.96, 1.63 to 5.38, and women 2.03, 1.06 to 3.88) and perceived risk of acquiring HIV for men (adjusted OR 2.28, 95%CI 1.34 to 3.90) remained independently associated.
Conclusion: Among these high HIV prevalence migrant communities, these data suggest that HIV testing remains largely associated with an individual's STI history or self perceived risk. This strategy may be inappropriate given the potential for onward and vertical transmission. Antenatal HIV testing combined with proactive targeted HIV testing promotion should be prioritised.
This study investigated the beliefs and attitudes of older African American colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors that may influence health behavior changes after treatment. Drawing from existing theories of health behavior change and cultural beliefs about health, a semi-structured interview guide was developed to elicit survivors’ perspectives. Qualitative focus groups and interviews were conducted with 17 survivors identified through the Detroit Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results registry. Using verbatim transcripts from the sessions and NVivo software, thematic analysis was conducted to analyze patterns of responses. Transcripts were coded for seven categories (health behaviors, who/what motivates change, self-efficacy, fatalism, religion/spirituality, beliefs about cancer, race/ethnicity). Five themes emerged from the data (personal responsibility, resilience, desire for information, intentions to change, beliefs in divine control). Findings support the relevance of existing theories of health behavior change to older African American CRC survivors. Cultural considerations are suggested to improve interventions seeking to maximize changes in diet and exercise among this group of survivors.
African Americans; Health behaviors; Colorectal cancer; Cancer survivorship; Qualitative methods
Spiritual care is a vital part of holistic patient care. Awareness of common patient beliefs will facilitate discussions about spirituality. Such conversations are inherently good for the patient, deepen the caring staff-patient-family relationship, and enhance understanding of how beliefs influence care decisions. All healthcare providers are likely to encounter Muslim patients, yet many lack basic knowledge of the Muslim faith and of the applications of Islamic teachings to palliative care. Similarly, some of the concepts underlying positive Jewish approaches to palliative care are not well known. We outline Jewish and Islamic attitudes toward suffering, treatment, and the end of life. We discuss our religions' approaches to treatments deemed unnecessary by medical staff, and consider some of the cultural reasons that patients and family members might object to palliative care, concluding with specific suggestions for the medical team.
Background Asian patients preferentially seek mental health care from their primary care providers but are unlikely to receive it. Primary care providers need culturally-informed strategies for addressing stigmatizing illnesses. Methods 11 Vietnamese American community members participated in semi-structured interviews. Interviews were audio-taped and transcribed. The grounded theory approach was used for qualitative coding and thematic analysis. Results Vietnamese community members describe experiences with depression under four themes: (1) Stigma and face; (2) Social functioning and the role of the family; (3) Traditional healing and beliefs about medications; and (4) Language and culture. Based on this data, we offer suggestions for improving culturally-informed care for Vietnamese Americans. Disucssion Our study adds to the research aimed at improving communication and health care relationships between physicians and Vietnamese American patients. Physicians should learn to tailor their interviewing style to the increasingly diverse patient population.
Communication; Depression; Primary care; Vietnamese American
Cultural identity is an important factor in how well Aboriginal people respond to HIV/AIDS prevention or, once diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, how it affects their health care. This study explores the cultural skills among service providers who see Aboriginal people living with HIV/AIDS (APHAs) and the perspectives of APHAs. The purpose is to better understand the wellness needs of APHAs and how culturally competent care affects health service access and use. Data collection included face-to-face semi-structured interviews with APHAs and focus groups/interviews with community-based and primary health professionals in five regions of Canada. Interviews and focus groups were voice-recorded, verbatim transcribed, and coded using Atlas.ti® software. Thirty-five APHAs and fifty-two service providers were reached. Two key themes were noticed:
Active addictions are a major obstacle to adherence to HIV drug regimes. Half of APHA participants said addictions are a major factor. A similar portion noted intensified substance use was an initial coping strategy when diagnosed. A slightly smaller portion noted that addictions were dealt with soon after diagnosis in order to begin antiretroviral treatment. Service providers who inform, encourage, and support APHAs’ choices are viewed as “culturally competent.”Addictions and HIV must be “treated together,” reflecting a holistic worldview of Aboriginal people. Programs that integrate addiction treatment with HIV/AIDS and service providers who encourage and support APHA’s choices are viewed as “wise practice” models by both sets of study participants offering some convergence and a set of five wise practices are identified.
PMID: 20835301 CAMSID: cams1069
Aboriginal Peoples; HIV/AIDS; Cultural Competence; Addictions
Oral health is important both for well-being and successful elite sporting performance. Reports from Olympic Games have found significant treatment needs; however, few studies have examined oral health directly. The aim of this study was to evaluate oral health, the determinants of oral health and the effect of oral health on well-being, training and performance of athletes participating in the London 2012 Games.
Cross-sectional study at the dental clinic within the Polyclinic in the athletes’ village. Following informed consent, a standardised history, clinical examination and brief questionnaire were conducted.
302 athletes from 25 sports were recruited with data available for 278. The majority of athletes were from Africa, the Americas and Europe. Overall, the results demonstrated high levels of poor oral health including dental caries (55% athletes), dental erosion (45% athletes) and periodontal disease (gingivitis 76% athletes, periodontitis 15% athletes). More than 40% of athletes were ‘bothered’ by their oral health with 28% reporting an impact on quality of life and 18% on training and performance. Nearly half of the participants had not undergone a dental examination or hygiene care in the previous year.
The oral health of athletes attending the dental clinic of the London 2012 Games was poor with a resulting substantial negative impact on well-being, training and performance. As oral health is an important element of overall health and well-being, health promotion and disease prevention interventions are urgently required to optimise athletic performance.
Elite Performance; Dentistry; Epidemiology; Olympics
To improve understanding of how first time mothers who belong to a socioeconomic group with particularly low rates of breast feeding decide whether or not to initiate breast feeding.
Qualitative semistructured interviews early in pregnancy and 6-10 weeks after birth.
Women’s homes in east end of London.
21 white, low income women expecting their first baby were interviewed mostly at home, often with their partner or a relative. Two focus groups were conducted.
Women who had regularly seen a relative or friend successfully breast feed and described this experience positively were more confident about and committed to breast feeding. They were also more likely to succeed. Exposure to breast feeding, however, could be either a positive or a negative influence on the decision to breast feed, depending on the context. Women who had seen breast feeding only by a stranger often described this as a negative influence, particularly if other people were present. All women knew that breast feeding has health benefits. Ownership of this knowledge, however, varied according to the woman’s experience of seeing breast feeding.
The decision to initiate breast feeding is influenced more by embodied knowledge gained from seeing breast feeding than by theoretical knowledge about its benefits. Breast feeding involves performing a practical skill, often with others present. The knowledge, confidence, and commitment necessary to breast feed may be more effectively gained through antenatal apprenticeship to a breastfeeding mother than from advice given in consultations or from books.
Key messagesWomen who have seen successful breast feeding as part of their daily lives and perceive this as a positive experience are more likely to initiate breast feedingEmbodied knowledge gained through seeing breast feeding may be more influential than theoretical knowledge about the health benefits for women of lower social classListening to pregnant women talking about breast feeding could help clinicians assess the relative importance of theoretical and embodied knowledge for each womanWomen hoping to breast feed but with little exposure to breast feeding may benefit from an antenatal apprenticeship with a breastfeeding motherIdeally apprenticeship would be with a breastfeeding mother from her social network to minimise the potential barriers of embarrassment and lack of confidence with strangers
In the context of integrated care, Multidisciplinary Group meetings involve participants from diverse professional groups and organisations and are potential vehicles to advance efficiency improvements within the local health economy. We advance a novel method to characterise the communication within Multidisciplinary Group meetings measuring the extent to which participants integrate and whether this integration leads to improved working.
We purposively selected four Multidisciplinary Group meetings and conducted a content analysis of audio-recorded and transcribed Case Discussions. Two coders independently coded utterances according to their ‘integrative intensity’ which was defined against three a-priori independent domains - the Level (i.e. Individual, Collective and Systems); the Valence (Problem, Information and Solution); the Focus (Concrete and Abstract). Inter- and intra-rater reliability was tested with Kappa scores on one randomly selected Case Discussion. Standardised weighted mean integration scores were calculated for Case Discussions across utterance deciles, indicating how integrative intensity changed during the conversations.
Twenty-three Case Discussions in four different Multidisciplinary Groups were transcribed and coded. Inter- and intra-rater reliability was good as shown by the Prevalence and Bias-Adjusted Kappa Scores for one randomly selected Case Discussion. There were differences in the proportion of utterances per participant type (Consultant 14.6%; presenting general practitioner 38.75%; Chair 7.8%; non-presenting general practitioner 2.25%; Allied Health Professional 4.8%). Utterances were predominantly coded at low levels of integrative intensity; however, there was a gradual increase (R
2 = 0.71) in integrative intensity during the Case Discussions. Based on the analysis of the minutes and action points arising from the Case Discussions, this improved integration did not translate into actions moving forward.
We characterise the Multidisciplinary Groups as having consultative characteristics with some trend towards collaboration, but that best resemble Community-Based Ward Rounds. Although integration scores do increase from the beginning to the end of the Case Discussions, this does not tend to translate into actions for the groups to take forward. The role of the Chair and the improved participation of non-presenting general practitioners and Allied Health Professionals seems important, particularly as the latter contribute well to higher integrative scores. Traditional communication patterns of medical dominance seem to be being perpetuated in the Multidisciplinary Groups. This suggests that more could be done to sensitise participants to the value of full participation from all the members of the group. The method we have developed could be used for ongoing and future evaluations of integrated care projects.
health care delivery; communication; health services; multidisciplinary groups
It has been acknowledged that religious and complementary therapies are commonly used among South Asian communities in the UK. However, little is known about their religious beliefs in relation to epilepsy and the type of South Asian therapies that they use to treat the condition.
To explore the influences of spiritual and religious beliefs on explanation of the cause of epilepsy, and the choice of treatment in people of South Asian origin who have epilepsy.
Design of study
Qualitative study using interviews with patients, carers, health professionals, and focus groups of people from minority ethnic communities.
Bradford and Leeds.
Semi-structured individual interviews with 20 Muslims, six Sikhs, and four Hindus with epilepsy; 16 nominated carers (family members, friends); 10 health professionals (specialist GPs, neurologists, specialists nurses, social workers, community GPs); and two focus groups with a total of 16 South Asians without epilepsy.
It was found that over half of responders attributed their illness to fate and the will of God, or as punishment for sins of a past life. Some patients had experienced prejudice from people who believed that their epilepsy was contagious. A strong network of traditional healers was found, providing a parallel system of health care in the UK and on the Indian subcontinent. People turned to religiospiritual treatments in desperation for a cure, often under the influence of their families after the perceived failure of Western medicine. Such treatments were viewed as complementary rather than as an alternative to Western medication. Younger people in particular expressed considerable scepticism about the effectiveness of these traditional South Asian treatments.
In this study's South Asian sample, patients commonly turned to traditional healers in search of better health. Health professionals should be aware of the belief systems of these patients and understand the types of treatments in common use. Although these treatments might potentially compete with Western health care, they are used as an adjunct rather than a substitute. Patients have a ‘healthy’ scepticism about the effectiveness of such treatments, and adherence to medical therapy does not appear to be affected.
beliefs; epilepsy; medicine, traditional; Southern Asia; spirituality
To explore knowledge and attitudes about colorectal cancer (CRC) screening among African American patients age 45 and older at a community health center serving low-income and uninsured patients.
We conducted 7 focus groups and 17 additional semistructured interviews. Sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using standard text analysis.
Most participants who were age eligible for CRC screening were nonadherent according to national guidelines. Themes included low CRC knowledge, low perceived norms, high barriers, and other screening beliefs.
Lack of knowledge, low perceived risk, and attitudes about CRC screening may be important targets for interventions in low-income African American patients.
colon cancer; focus groups; African American; low-income
Adequate fluoride exposure is especially important for those experiencing disproportionately high prevalence of dental caries, such as rural Latino farmworkers and their children. Water is an important source of fluoride. This qualitative study examined water consumption beliefs and practices among Latino parents of young children in a rural community.
Focus groups and open-ended in-depth interviews explored parents’ beliefs about tapwater, beverage preferences and knowledge of fluoride. A questionnaire documented socio-demographic characteristics and water consumption practices. Qualitative analysis revealed how water-related beliefs, social and cultural context, and local environment shaped participants' water consumption.
The vast majority of participants (N=46) avoided drinking unfiltered tap water based on perceptions that it had poor taste, smell and color, bolstered by a historically justified and collectively transmitted belief that the public water supply is unsafe. Water quality reports are not accessible to many community residents, all of whom use commercially bottled or filtered water for domestic consumption. Most participants had little knowledge of fluoride beyond a general sense it was beneficial. While most participants expressed willingness to drink fluoridated water, many emphatically stated that they would do so only if it tasted, looked, and smelled better and was demonstrated to be safe.
Perceptions about water quality and safety have important implications for adequate fluoride exposure. For vulnerable populations, technical reports of water safety have not only to be believed and trusted but matched or superceded by experience before meaningful change will occur in people’s water consumption habits.
Hispanic Americans; rural population; dental caries; water; culture
Community knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices are essential in any diarrhoea research. This cross-sectional study addresses these questions ill a semi-urban community in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The study included 344 subjects and 276 controls v/’ all age groups. Most people had reasonable knowledge of diarrhoea. Mothers o/’ children with diarrhoea continued to fired them during the attack. However, some community practices were found to be harmful. The majority of diarrhoea cases neither sought medical attention, nor used oral rehydration salts (ORS) at home. Instead, they resorted to faulty self-medication. Overall use of ORS was 53%; much less than expected. Education of health personnel on ORS might improve its use. It was found that the community needs to be educated on the benefits of hand washing before meals and after changing soiled diapers, washing of eggs and the use of boiled water for the preparation of infant preparing feeds.
Diarrhoea; Knowledge; Attitude and Practice
OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the use of aggregated, locally collected birth notification data to examine trends in birth-weight specific survival for singleton and multiple births. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of 171,527 notified births and subsequent infant survival data derived from computerised community child health records. Validation of data completeness and quality was undertaken by comparison with birth and death registration records for the same period. SETTING: Notifications of births in 1989-1991 to residents of the North Thames (East) Region (formerly North East Thames Regional Health Authority). OUTCOME MEASURES: Birthweight specific stillbirth, neonatal, and postneonatal death rates. RESULTS: There was close correspondence between the notification and registration data. For 96% of the registered deaths a birth notification record was identified and for the majority of these the death was already known to the Community Child Health Computer. Completeness of birth-weight data, particularly at the lower end of the range, was substantially better in birth notification data. Comparison with the most recent published national data relating to birthweight specific survival of very low birthweight singleton and multiple births suggests that the downward trend of mortality is continuing, at least in this Region. CONCLUSIONS: The use of routinely collected aggregated birth notification data provides a valuable adjunct to existing sources of information about perinatal and infant survival, as well as other information regarding process and outcome of maternity services. Such data are required for comparative audit and may be more complete than that obtained from registration or hospital generated data.