To identify the need for reproductive health care among a community affected by conflict, and to ascertain the priority given by the community to reproductive health issues.
Rapid appraisal. This comprised interviews with key informants, in-depth interviews, and group discussions. Secondary data were collated. Freelisting, ranking, and scenarios were used to obtain information.
Communities affected by conflict in southern Sudan.
Interviews and group discussions were chosen purposively. Twenty interviews with key informants were undertaken, in-depth interviews were held with 14 women, and 23 group discussions were held.
Main outcome measures
Need for reproductive health care. Perceived priority afforded to reproductive health issues in comparison with other health problems.
Reproductive health in general and sexually transmitted diseases in particular were important issues for these communities. Problems in reproductive health were ranked differently depending on the age and sex of the respondents. Perceptions about reproductive health issues in communities varied between service providers, and community leaders. Settled and displaced communities had different priorities and differing experiences of reproductive health problems and their treatment.
Rapid appraisal could be used as the first step to involving communities in assessing needs and planning service provision.
Key messagesCommunity members are not routinely involved in assessing their needs or identifying priorities for humanitarian aidReproductive health needs were important to this population affected by conflictCommunity leaders and health service providers will not necessarily hold the same view of need as community membersPeople of different age, sex, and circumstance are likely to perceive community needs differentlyRapid appraisal may be a useful tool to involve communities living in these contexts to identify their needs and priorities