This article describes and analyses a research based engagement by a university school of public health in Bangladesh aimed at raising public debate on sexuality and rights and making issues such as discrimination more visible to policy makers and other key stakeholders in a challenging context. The impetus for this work came from participation in an international research programme with a particular interest in bridging international and local understandings of sexual and reproductive rights. The research team worked to create a platform to broaden discussions on sexuality and rights by building on a number of research activities on rural and urban men’s and women’s sexual health concerns, and on changing concepts of sexuality and understandings of sexual rights among specific population groups in Dhaka city, including sexual minorities. Linked to this on-going process of improving the evidence base, there has been a series of learning and capacity building activities over the last four years consisting of training workshops, meetings, conferences and dialogues. These brought together different configurations of stakeholders – members of sexual minorities, academics, service providers, advocacy organisations, media and policy makers. This process contributed to developing more effective advocacy strategies through challenging representations of sexuality and rights in the public domain. Gradually, these efforts brought visibility to hidden or stigmatised sexuality and rights issues through interim outcomes that have created important steps towards changing attitudes and policies. These included creating safe spaces for sexual minorities to meet and strategise, development of learning materials for university students and engagement with legal rights groups on sexual rights. Through this process, it was found to be possible to create a public space and dialogue on sexuality and rights in a conservative and challenging environment like Bangladesh by bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to successfully challenge representations of sexuality in the public arena. A further challenge for BRAC University has been to assess its role as a teaching and research organisation, and find a balance between the two roles of research and activism in doing work on sexuality issues in a very sensitive political context.
People have the right to make choices regarding their own sexuality, as far as they respect the rights of others. The knowledge of those rights is critical to youth’s ability to protect themselves from unwanted reproductive outcomes. Reproductive health targeted Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved without improving access to reproductive health. This study was aimed to assess knowledge of reproductive and sexual rights as well as associated factors among Wolaita Sodo University students.
An institution-based cross-sectional survey was conducted among 642 regular undergraduate Wolaita Sodo University students selected by simple random sampling. A pretested and structured self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Data were entered using EPI info version 3.5.3 statistical software and analyzed using SPSS version 20 statistical package. Descriptive statistics was used to describe the study population in relation to relevant variables. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression was also carried out to see the effect of each independent variable on the dependent variable.
More than half (54.5%) of the respondents were found to be knowledgeable about reproductive and sexual rights. Attending elementary and high school in private schools [AOR: 2.08, 95% CI: 1.08, 3.99], coming from urban areas [AOR: 1.46, 95% CI: 1.00, 2.12], being student of faculty of health sciences [AOR: 2.98, 95% CI: 1.22, 7.30], participation in reproductive health clubs [AOR: 3.11, 95% CI: 2.08, 4.65], utilization of reproductive health services [AOR: 2.34, 95% CI: 1.49, 3.69] and discussing sexual issues with someone else [AOR: 2.31, 95% CI: 1.48, 3.62], were positively associated with knowledge of reproductive and sexual rights.
The level of knowledge of students about reproductive and sexual rights was found to be low. The Ministry of Education has to incorporate reproductive and sexual rights in the curricula of high schools and institutions of higher learning.
Reproductive Health; Reproductive and Sexual Rights; Youths; Ethiopia
Sex education is described as education about human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, family planning, body image, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, values, decision making, communication, dating, relationships, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and how to avoid them, and birth control methods. This study was conducted to explore perception of parents about school sex education and assess the attitude of teachers and students towards school sex education.
A cross-sectional quantitative and qualitative study was conducted on randomly selected 386 students, total census of 94 teachers and 10 parents in Merawi Town from March 13–27, 2011. Data were collected using self-administered structured questionnaire and in-depth interview guideline. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed using total score to determine the effect of the independent variables on the outcome variable and thematic analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data.
All study participants have favourable attitude towards the importance of school sex education. They also agreed that the content of school sex education should include abstinence-only and abstinence-plus based on mental maturity of the students. That means at early age (Primary school) the content of school sex education should be abstinence-only and at later age (secondary school) the content of school sex education should be added abstinence-plus. The students and the teachers said that the minimum and maximum introduction time for school sex education is 5 year and 25 year with mean of 10.97(SD±4.3) and 12.36(SD±3.7) respectively. Teacher teaching experiences and field of studies have supportive idea about the starting of school sex education. Watching romantic movies, reading romantic materials and listening romantic radio programs appear to have a contribution on the predictor of students' attitude towards the starting time of school sex education.
All study participants have a need to start sex education at school. All study participants said that at early age (Primary school) the content of school sex education is abstinence-only and at later age (secondary school) is added abstinence-plus. School Sex education should be under considers the need of students, teachers and parents.
Sex education; Attitude; perception
The continued poor sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa highlight the difficulties in reforming policies and laws, and implementing effective programmes. This paper uses one international and two national case studies to reflect on the challenges, dilemmas and strategies used in operationalising sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in different African contexts.
The international case study focuses on the progress made by African countries in implementing the African Union’s Maputo Plan of Action (for the Operationalisation of the Continental Policy Framework for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) and the experiences of state and non-state stakeholders in this process. The case was developed from an evaluation report of the progress made by nine African countries in implementing the Plan of Action, qualitative interviews exploring stakeholders’ experiences and perceptions of the operationalisation of the plan (carried out as part of the evaluation) in Botswana and Nigeria, and authors’ reflections. The first national case study explores the processes involved in influencing Ghana’s Domestic Violence Act passed in 2007; developed from a review of scientific papers and organisational publications on the processes involved in influencing the Act, qualitative interview data and authors’ reflections. The second national case study examines the experiences with introducing the 2006 Sexual Offences Act in Kenya, and it is developed from organisational publications on the processes of enacting the Act and a review of media reports on the debates and passing of the Act.
Based on the three cases, we argue that prohibitive laws and governments’ reluctance to institute and implement comprehensive rights approaches to SRH, lack of political leadership and commitment to funding SRHR policies and programmes, and dominant negative cultural framing of women’s issues present the major obstacles to operationalising SRH rights. Analysis of successes points to the strategies for tackling these challenges, which include forming and working through strategic coalitions, employing strategic framing of SRHR issues to counter opposition and gain support, collaborating with government, and employing strategic opportunism.
The strategies identified show future pathways through which challenges to the realisation of SRHR in Africa can be tackled.
As life expectancy for HIV-infected persons improves, studies in sub-Saharan Africa show that a considerable proportion of HIV-positive women and men desire to have children in the future. Integrating sexual and reproductive health care into HIV services has emphasized the right of women to make informed choices about their reproductive lives and the right of self-determination to reproduce, but this is often equated with avoidance of pregnancy. Here, we explore guidance and attention to safer conception for HIV-infected women and men and find this right lacking. Current sexual and reproductive health guidelines are not proactive in supporting HIV-positive people desiring children, and are particularly silent about the fertility needs of HIV-infected men and uninfected men in discordant partnerships. Public health policymakers and providers need to engage the HIV-infected and uninfected to determine both the demand and how best to address the need for safer conception services.
HIV infection; HIV-positive women and men; fertility; parenting; reproductive policy and services; contraception
There is growing interest in the ways in which legal and human rights issues related to sex work affect sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV and abuses including human trafficking and sexual exploitation. International agencies, such as UNAIDS, have called for decriminalisation of sex work because the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services is affected by criminalisation and social exclusion as experienced by sex workers. The paper reflects on the connections in various actors’ framings between sex workers sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and the ways that international law is interpreted in policing and regulatory practices.
The literature review that informs this paper was carried out by the authors in the course of their work within the Paulo Longo Research Initiative. The review covered academic and grey literature such as resources generated by sex worker rights activists, UN policy positions and print and online media. The argument in this paper has been developed reflectively through long term involvement with key actors in the field of sex workers’ rights.
International legislation characterises sex work in various ways which do not always accord with moves toward decriminalisation. Law, policy and regulation at national level and law enforcement vary between settings. The demands of sex worker rights activists do relate to sexual and reproductive health but they place greater emphasis on efforts to remove the structural barriers that limit sex workers’ ability to participate in society on an equal footing with other citizens.
Discussion and conclusion
There is a tension between those who wish to uphold the rights of sex workers in order to reduce vulnerability to ill-health and those who insist that sex work is itself a violation of rights. This is reflected in contemporary narratives about sex workers’ rights and the ways in which different actors interpret human rights law. The creation of regulatory frameworks around sex work that support health, safety and freedom from abuse requires a better understanding of the broad scope of laws, policies and enforcement practices in different cultural contexts and economic settings, alongside reviews of UN policies and human rights conventions.
The mass media have excellent potential to promote good sexual and reproductive health outcomes, but around the world, media often fail to prioritize sexual and reproductive health and rights issues or report them in an accurate manner. In sub-Saharan Africa media coverage of reproductive health issues is poor due to the weak capacity and motivation for reporting these issues by media practitioners. This paper describes the experiences of the African Population and Health Research Center and its partners in cultivating the interest and building the capacity of the media in evidence-based reporting of reproductive health issues in sub-Saharan Africa.
The paper utilizes a case study approach based primarily on the personal experiences and reflections of the authors (who played a central role in developing and implementing the Center’s communication and policy engagement strategies), a survey that the Center carried out with science journalists in Kenya, and literature review.
The African Population and Health Research Center’s media strategy evolved over the years, moving beyond conventional ways of communicating research through the media via news releases and newspaper stories, to varying approaches that sought to inspire and build the capacity of journalists to do evidence-based reporting of reproductive health issues. Specifically, the approach included 1) enhancing journalists’ interest in and motivation for reporting on reproductive health issues through training and competitive grants for outstanding reporting ; 2) building the capacity of journalists to report reproductive health research and the capacity of reproductive health researchers to communicate their research to media through training for both parties and providing technical assistance to journalists in obtaining and interpreting evidence; and 3) establishing and maintaining trust and mutual relationships between journalists and researchers through regular informal meetings between journalists and researchers, organizing field visits for journalists, and building formal partnerships with professional media associations and individual journalists.
Our experiences and reflections, and the experiences of others reviewed in this paper, indicate that a sustained mix of strategies that motivate, strengthen capacity of, and build relationships between journalists and researchers can be effective in enhancing quality and quantity of media coverage of research.
HIV prevention efforts with gay men in relationships frequently omit primary partners. When they are considered, examinations of race/ethnicity are often overlooked despite higher infection rates among gay men of colour. Acknowledging both the need to contextualise the behaviours that may affect HIV risk for gay men of colour and the disproportionate impact of HIV on Latino gay men, the present study utilised semi-structured, qualitative interviews to explore relationship dynamics, sexual agreements and behaviours, and safer sex choices and HIV risk among nine Latino gay male couples. All participants were HIV-negative and in concordant negative relationships. Additionally, nearly all reported closed agreements. Analysis revealed participants engaging in four behaviours that may actively reduce their HIV risk: approaching sexual agreements from a practical standpoint, maintaining a high literacy around HIV, having exposure to social support groups for Latino gay men, and finding support in their relationship with another Latino gay man. Additional issues are raised where long-term HIV prevention is concerned. Intimate relationships are an important context for understanding both HIV risk and prevention among Latino gay men. Likewise, race/ethnicity provides an indispensable perspective on all research with gay couples. Future prevention efforts with gay men must strive to include both.
gay couples; Latino gay men; sexual agreements; HIV
The National Health Act, No 61, 2003 in South Africa is the first effort made by the government to protect health-related research participants under law. Implemented on March 1, 2012, the law mandates active consent from a parent or legal guardian for all research conducted with research participants under the age of 18 years. This paper focuses on the Act's implications for school-based adolescent sexual and reproductive health research.
Although well intentioned, the added legal protections in the National Health Act may have the unintended consequence of reducing participation rates in school-based adolescent sexual and reproductive health research, thereby excluding the most at-risk students. The Act may also compromise adolescents' right to dignity and privacy, especially considering the personal nature of research on sex and sexuality. Devolved, discretionary decision-making, which empowers local human research ethics committees to permit a wider range of protective measures, including passive consent, independent adolescent consent or community consultation ought to be considered. The continued and direct involvement of young people in their sexual and reproductive health and well-being is an important principle to uphold.
This paper calls for a re-examination of section 71's ethical guidelines relating to informed consent in the National Health Act, No 61, 2003 in South Africa in order to better serve the interests of South African adolescents in sexual and reproductive health research.
The association between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and major depression disorder (MDD) gives reason to suspect that many mothers with postpartum depression (PPD) have a history of CSA. However, few studies have investigated how CSA and PPD are related. In this case study we explore how the experience of incest intertwines with the experience of postpartum depression. We focus on participant subject “Nina,” who has experienced both. We interviewed her three times and we analysed the interviews with Giorgi's phenomenological descriptive method to arrive at a contextualised meaning structure. Nina's intruding fantasies of men who abuse her children merge with her recollections of her own incest experiences. She may succeed in forcing these fantasies out of her consciousness, but they still alter her perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. She feels overwhelmed and succumbs to sadness, while she also is drawn towards information about CSA, which in turn feeds her fantasies. The psychodynamic concepts of repetition compulsion, transference, and projection may provide some explanation of Nina's actions, thoughts, and emotions through her past experiences. With our phenomenological stance, we aim to acknowledge Nina's descriptions of her everyday life here and now. With reference to Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Minkowski, we show that Nina's past is not a dated memory; rather it determines the structure of her consciousness that constitutes her past as her true present and future. Incest dominates Nina's world, and her possibilities for action are restricted by this perceived world. Any suspension of action implies anguish, and she resolves this by incest-structured action that in turn feeds and colours her expectations. Thus anxiety and depression are intertwined in the structure of this experience.
Child sexual abuse; incest; postpartum depression; descriptive phenomenology; case study
The motivation of health workers (HWs) to deliver services in developing countries has been described as a critical factor in the success of health systems in implementing programmes. How the sociocultural context of Papua New Guinea (PNG) affects the values, motivation and actions of HWs involved in sexual and reproductive health services is important for policy development and programme planning. With interest in male circumcision (MC) as an HIV prevention option in PNG, this study explored the perceptions and motivations of HWs involved in sexual and reproductive health services in PNG, examining their implications for the possible future roll out of a national MC programme.
A multi-method qualitative study was conducted with HWs across a range of health care professions working in sexual health facilities. A total of 29 in-depth interviews and one focus group discussion were completed. Qualitative thematic analysis of the transcripts and field notes was undertaken using a social constructivist approach and complemented by documentary organizational, programme and policy analysis.
Results and discussions
Introduction of new health programmes, such as a MC programme for HIV prevention, are likely to impact upon one or more of the many motivational determinants. Social–cultural and individual factors influencing HW motivation to be involved in sexual and reproductive health services in PNG included community expectation and concern, sense of accomplishment and religious conviction. Strong links to community responsibility outweighed organizational ties. Faced with an often dysfunctional work environment, HWs perceived themselves as responsible to compensate for the failed health system. The impact of community influence and expectation needs to be considered when introducing a MC programme, particularly to communities in PNG where penile foreskin cutting is a common and accepted practice.
The potential contribution to the success of a MC programme that HWs may have means that taking into account the differing needs of communities as well as the motivational influences on HWs that exist within the sociocultural environment is important. These findings will assist not only in programme planning for MC, but also in the expansion of other existing sexual and reproductive health services.
Adolescent pregnancies are a common phenomenon that can have both positive and negative consequences. The rights framework allows us to explore adolescent pregnancies not just as isolated events, but in relation to girls' sexual and reproductive freedom and their entitlement to a system of health protection that includes both health services and the so called social determinants of health. The aim of this study was to explore policy makers' and service providers' discourses concerning adolescent pregnancies, and discuss the consequences that those discourses have for the exercise of girls' sexual and reproductive rights' in the province of Orellana, located in the amazon basin of Ecuador.
We held six focus-group discussions and eleven in-depth interviews with 41 Orellana's service providers and policy makers. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using discourse analysis, specifically looking for interpretative repertoires.
Four interpretative repertoires emerged from the interviews. The first repertoire identified was "sex is not for fun" and reflected a moralistic construction of girls' sexual and reproductive health that emphasized abstinence, and sent contradictory messages regarding contraceptive use. The second repertoire -"gendered sexuality and parenthood"-constructed women as sexually uninterested and responsible mothers, while men were constructed as sexually driven and unreliable. The third repertoire was "professionalizing adolescent pregnancies" and lead to patronizing attitudes towards adolescents and disregard of the importance of non-medical expertise. The final repertoire -"idealization of traditional family"-constructed family as the proper space for the raising of adolescents while at the same time acknowledging that sexual abuse and violence within families was common.
Providers' and policy makers' repertoires determined the areas that the array of sexual and reproductive health services should include, leaving out the ones more prone to cause conflict and opposition, such as gender equality, abortion provision and welfare services for pregnant adolescents. Moralistic attitudes and sexism were present - even if divergences were also found-, limiting services' capability to promote girls' sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In October 2005, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) adopted the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. This was the culmination of nearly 2 years of deliberations and negotiations. As a non-binding instrument, the declaration must be incorporated by UNESCO’s member states into their national laws, regulations or policies in order to take effect. Based on documentary evidence and data from interviews, this paper compares the declaration’s universal principles with national bioethics guidelines and practice in Kenya and South Africa. It concentrates on areas of particular relevance to developing countries, such as protection of vulnerable persons and social responsibility. The comparison demonstrates the need for universal principles to be contextualised before they can be applied in a meaningful sense at national level. The paper also assesses the ‘added value’ of the declaration in terms of biomedical research ethics, given that there are already well-established international instruments on bioethics, namely the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki and the CIOMS (Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences) guidelines on biomedical research. It may be that the added value lies as much in the follow-up capacity building activities being initiated by UNESCO as in the document itself.
Global bioethics; Kenya; National bioethics; South Africa; UNESCO; Universal principles
In Bangladesh, particularly in urban slums, married adolescent women’s human rights to life, health, and reproductive and sexual health remain adversely affected because of the structural inequalities and political economic, social and cultural conditions which shape how rights are understood, negotiated and lived.
The focus of the research and methods was anthropological. An initial survey of 153 married adolescent women was carried out and from this group, 50 in-depth interviews were conducted with selected participants and, from the in-depth interviews, a further eight case studies of women and their families were selected for in-depth repeated interviews and case histories.
This paper speaks of the unanticipated complexities when writing on reproductive rights for poor adolescent women living in the slums, where the discourses on ‘universal human rights’ are often removed from the reality of adolescent women’s everyday lives. Married adolescent women and their families remain extremely vulnerable in the unpredictable, crime-prone and insecure urban slum landscape because of their age, gender and poverty. Adolescent women’s understanding of their rights such as the decision to marry early, have children, terminate pregnancies and engage in risky sexual behaviour, are different from the widely accepted discourse on rights globally, which assumes a particular kind of individual thinking and discourse on rights and a certain autonomy women have over their bodies and their lives. This does not necessarily exist in urban slum populations.
The lived experiences and decisions made pertaining to sexual and reproductive health and ‘rights’ exercised by married adolescent women, their families and slum communities, allow us to reflect on the disconnect between the international legal human rights frameworks as applied to sexual and reproductive health rights, and how these are played out on the ground. These notions are far more complex in environments where married adolescent women and their families live in conditions of poverty and socioeconomic deprivation.
Despite the demonstrated utility of GIS for health applications, there are perceived problems in low resource settings: GIS software can be expensive and complex; input data are often of low quality. This study aimed to test the appropriateness of new, inexpensive and simple GIS tools in poorly resourced areas of a developing country. GIS applications were trialled in pilot studies based on mapping of health resources and health indicators at the clinic and district level in the predominantly rural province of Nusa Tenggara Timur in eastern Indonesia. The pilot applications were (i) rapid field collection of health infrastructure data using a GPS enabled PDA, (ii) mapping health indicator data using open source GIS software, and (iii) service availability mapping using a free modelling tool.
Through contextualised training, district and clinic staff acquired skills in spatial analysis and visualisation and, six months after the pilot studies, they were using these skills for advocacy in the planning process, to inform the allocation of some health resources, and to evaluate some public health initiatives.
We demonstrated that GIS can be a useful and inexpensive tool for the decentralisation of health data analysis to low resource settings through the use of free and simple software, locally relevant training materials and by providing data collection tools to ensure data reliability.
In the ongoing quest for improved diagnostic markers of bipolar illness, the focus of research has gradually shifted to examining the onset of mood difficulties early in life and investigating the potential corollaries of such early onset such as cognitive impairment, disruption of social and emotional functioning, and constriction of quality of life. This article considers the disruptions to cognitive functioning that accompany bipolar disorder and compares adult and child profiles to ascertain the likelihood of identifying a neurocognitive biomarker of the illness.
A succinct review of the literature pertaining to cognition in both adult and childhood populations is synthesised following Medline and PsychINFO searches using key-terms including ‘cognition’, ‘bipolar disorder’, ‘neurocognitive’ ‘child’, ‘adolescent’ and a range of neuropsychological domain names. In addition, literature known to the authors was scrutinised and relevant references further pursued.
Findings from the literature are contextualised and key findings are summarised and provide a basis for future recommendations.
A number of deficits have been consistently identified in both adolescent and adult populations that perhaps reflect disease traits. Future research needs to focus on these and employ multimodal tests in pristine patient groups, with a view to identifying reliable biomarkers.
bipolar disorder; neurocognition; juveniles
To help support and direct the Lions Club's construction of a Community Health Clinic specializing in Reproductive and Sexual Health, this descriptive study began in November of 2004 and was completed in May 2005. The sample consists of 552 high school students in Rumiñahui County, and surveys were used to study four principle themes: reproductive and sexual health education, family planning, sexually transmitted infections, and domestic violence. The results show a widespread lack of accurate and adequate information about reproductive and sexual health. Statistically significant variables studied include sex, age, monthly income, and age of first sexual experience. Female sex, younger age, lower monthly income, and younger age of first sexual experience all contribute to a lower quality of reproductive and sexual health, in terms of having less information about and access to these four aspects of reproductive and sexual health.
Reproductive and sexual health; Valle de los Chillos; Ecuador; sexual education; family planning; sexually transmitted infections; domestic violence
The International Classification of Functioning (ICF) has acquired a central role in the WHO Family of International Classifications and it has been extensively adopted as the reference framework for health-related functioning (HrF). This review aims to provide a description of the ICF/HrF to contextualise ICF/HrF in relation to other approaches to health functioning and to describe its application in policy and legislation with a special focus on Spain.
Narrative review based on the scientific literature and prior expert knowledge.
ICF is both a coding system and a conceptual framework of HrF, which is framed as a unidimensional, bipolar and asymmetric construct with a negative pole (disability) and a positive pole (good functioning) with higher complexity. Other models of HrF include health promotion, quality of life and activities of daily living (ADL). The curtailed taxonomy of ICF and its unclear distinction from other approaches have had significant implications for research, policy and legislation, as illustrated by the case of the legislation and services for functional dependency in Spain and other examples.
The ICF model of functioning is more comprehensive and usable than previous alternatives, but a full taxonomy of the HrF construct is needed to avoid further confusions in this field. This should also comprise harmonisation with other classifications of the WHO Family of International Classifications and other models of health functioning.
This article assesses the effects of comprehensive tobacco control policies on diverse subpopulations of girls and women who are at increased vulnerability to tobacco use because of disadvantage. The authors report on a recent assessment of experimental literature examining tobacco taxation; smoking location restrictions in public and private spaces; and sales restrictions. A comprehensive search was undertaken to identify relevant studies and evaluation reports. Gender based and diversity analyses were performed to identify pertinent sex differences and gender influences that would affect the application and impact of the policy. Finally, the results were contextualised within the wider literature on women's tobacco use and women's health. The authors consider not only the intended policy effects, but also explicitly examine the gendered and/or unintended consequences of these policies on other aspects of girls and women's health and wellbeing. A framework for developing gender sensitive tobacco programmes and policies for low income girls and women is provided.
gender; policy; smoking; tobacco; women
Research evidence has identified practices across the care continuum which can improve the chronic condition of stroke; however, challenges remain to implementing this evidence. The two research projects presented evaluated whether facilitation can increase evidence-informed stroke care.
The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services framework was used to design and evaluate the facilitation strategies.
Project one evaluated the effect of a knowledge network, centralised around a knowledge broker, on increasing the awareness and application of evidence across the health care system. Project two used an interactive workshop to help family practitioners contextualise best practice recommendations for the secondary prevention of stroke. The research projects were conducted in primarily rural areas of Canada, and used mixed methods for evaluation.
Results and Conclusions
The results indicate that the knowledge broker/network intervention effectively increased the awareness of evidence, and stimulated improvements in stroke care through increased communication networks. The workshop increased practitioner knowledge and support for health system changes necessary for integrated stroke care. The evaluation identified health-system barriers which affect implementation.
These findings identify the need and methods for improving communication, which if implemented can reduce health system barriers to improving integrated stroke care.
stroke services; Canada
During a ‘Well London’ study, residents were asked about their neighbourhood and its environment. Above all other complaints, ‘dog poo’ was mentioned as a key concern. Despite low rates of infection and disease among the human population resulting from contact with canine faecal matter, the concerns of the public continue to rate it as a serious public health issue. Most public health studies, therefore, seek to identify processes of transmission and disease pathology as a method of addressing the problem. This study approaches the issue through a contextualised analysis of residents’ complaints, using anthropological theory to examine the symbolic representation of ‘dog poo’. Analysis of the interviews shows that these specific complaints were located among less easily defined or articulated experiences of social and environmental neglect, where neighbours were estranged from one another and local authorities seen as negligent. This approach has important implications for public health, as it provides not only a strong indicator of the level of dissatisfaction within some of London's more disadvantaged neighbourhoods, but also identifies a need for policies that are grounded in cross-disciplinary research into the relationship between health, ‘wellbeing’ and experiences of marginalisation among urban populations.
public health; canine faeces; symbolism; anthropology
An understanding of the association between adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health knowledge and their use of relevant services is needed to improve young people’s sexual and reproductive health.
Data from the National Survey of Family Growth were used to examine associations between sexual and reproductive health communication (parental and formal) and service use among 2,326 U.S. women aged 15–19 in 2002 and 2006–2008. Chi-square tests and multivariate logistic regression were used to assess relationships between adolescents’ receipt of sexual and reproductive health communication from parents and formal (school, church, community) sources and their use of sexual and reproductive health services.
The majority of adolescents had received parental (75%) and formal (92%) sexual and reproductive health communication; 43% reported recent service use. In unadjusted analyses, parental and formal communication were positively associated with service use. In regression models, overall parental communication remained positively associated with service use (odds ratio, 1.6); parental abstinence-only communication, which was not significant in 2002, was associated with reduced odds of service use for the pooled sample (0.4) and in 2006–2008 (0.3). Formal communication was not associated with service use.
Further research is needed to assess whether comprehensive sexual and reproductive health communication facilitates adolescents’ health care utilization. Examination of how communication sources, quality and content are related to service use is needed to understand adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health knowledge and needs.
The terms bareback and bareback identity are increasingly being used in academic discourse on HIV/AIDS without clear operationalisation. Using in-depth, face-to-face interviews with an ethnically diverse sample of 120 HIV infected and uninfected men, mainly gay-identifying, and recruited online in New York City, this study explored respondents’ definitions of bareback sex, the role that intentionality and risk played in those definitions, and whether respondents identified as ‘barebackers’. Results showed overall agreement with a basic definition of bareback sex as condomless anal intercourse, but considerable variation on other elements. Any identification as barebacker appeared too loose to be of use from a public health prevention perspective. To help focus HIV-prevention efforts, we propose a re-conceptualisation that contextualises risky condomless anal intercourse and distinguishing between behaviours that are intentional and may result in HIV-primary transmission from those that are not.
bareback; gay; intentionality; HIV risk; unprotected anal intercourse
Mental distress is common in primary care and overrepresented among Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals, but access to effective treatment is limited, particularly in developing countries. Explanatory models (EM) are contextualised explanations of illnesses and treatments framed within a given society and are important in understanding an individual's perspective on the illness. Although individual variations are important in determining help-seeking and treatment behaviour patterns, the ability to cope with an illness and quality of life, the role of explanatory models in shaping treatment preferences is undervalued. The aim was to identify explanatory models employed by HIV-infected and uninfected individuals and to compare them with those employed by local health care providers. Furthermore, we aimed to build a theoretical model linking the perception of mental distress to treatment preferences and coping mechanisms.
Qualitative investigation nested in a cross-sectional validation study of 28 (male and female) attendees at four primary care clinics in Lusaka, Zambia, between December 2008 and May 2009. Consecutive clinic attendees were sampled on random days and conceptual models of mental distress were examined, using semi-structured interviews, in order to develop a taxonomic model in which each category was associated with a unique pattern of symptoms, treatment preferences and coping strategies.
Mental distress was expressed primarily as somatic complaints including headaches, perturbed sleep and autonomic symptoms. Economic difficulties and interpersonal relationship problems were the most common causal models among uninfected individuals. Newly diagnosed HIV patients presented with a high degree of hopelessness and did not value seeking help for their symptoms. Patients not receiving anti-retroviral drugs (ARV) questioned their effectiveness and were equivocal about seeking help. Individuals receiving ARV were best adjusted to their status, expressed hope and valued counseling and support groups. Health care providers reported that 40% of mental distress cases were due to HIV infection.
Patient models concerning mental distress are critical to treatment-seeking decisions and coping mechanisms. Mental health interventions should be further researched and prioritized for HIV-infected individuals.
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?