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1.  Community experiences and perceptions of reproductive health vouchers in Kenya 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:660.
Background
Research on demand-side health care financing approaches such as output-based aid (OBA) programs have focused on evaluating the role of the programs improving such outcomes as utilization of services and quality of services with limited focus on the experiences and perceptions of the target communities. This paper examines community members’ views of the output-based aid voucher program in Kenya.
Methods
A household survey was conducted in 2010 among 1,336 women aged 15-49 years living in the catchment areas of contracted health facilities in three districts participating in the voucher program (Kisumu, Kiambu and Kitui). Twenty seven focus group discussions were conducted with voucher users, non-users, opinion leaders and voucher distributors in the three districts as well as in Nairobi. Analysis of the quantitative data involved frequency distributions and cross-tabulations. Qualitative data were transcribed and analyzed by adopting framework analysis and further triangulation of themes across respondents.
Results
Majority (84%) of survey respondents had heard about the safe motherhood voucher compared to 24% and 1% that had heard about the family planning and gender-based violence recovery services (GBVRS) vouchers respectively. Similarly, 20% of the respondents had used the safe motherhood voucher compared to 2% for family planning and none for the GBVRS vouchers. From the community members’ perspectives, the voucher program is associated with improvements in access to health services for poor women, improved quality of care, and empowerment of women to make health care decisions. However, community members cited difficulties in accessing some accredited health facilities, limitations with the system of selling vouchers, lack of male involvement in women’s reproductive health issues, and poor understanding of the benefits associated with purchasing the voucher.
Conclusion
The findings of this paper showed that the voucher program in Kenya is viewed by the community members as a feasible system for increasing service utilization, improving quality of care, and reducing financial barriers to accessing reproductive health services. However, the techniques of program execution such as proper information and availability of the distributors as well as local attitudes influence whether vouchers are purchased and used.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-660
PMCID: PMC3721984  PMID: 23866044
2.  Professional health care use and subjective unmet need for social or emotional problems: a cross-sectional survey of the married and divorced population of Flanders 
Background
The high mental health care consumption rates of divorced singles may constitute a heavy burden on the public health care system. This raises the question of whether their higher health care use stems from a greater need, or whether there are other factors contributing to these high consumption rates. We examine both health care use and subjective unmet need (perceiving a need for care without seeking it) because of social or emotional problems of the divorced singles, the repartnered divorcees, and the married. Moreover, we investigate how health care use and subjective unmet need relate to each other.
Methods
We conduct several gender specific logistic regressions employing data from the Divorce in Flanders Survey (N men = 2884; N women = 3317).
Results
Results show that the divorced singles have more contact with professional health care providers (general practitioners, psychiatrists, and psychologists) because of social or emotional problems, and more often perceive unmet needs. The higher health care use rates and greater subjective unmet needs can largely be attributed to higher levels of depressive symptoms. Surprisingly, we find that non-frequent health care users more often perceive a subjective unmet need than frequent health care users and those who have not contacted any health care provider.
Conclusion
The single divorced consult health care providers more often because of social or emotional problems and they also perceive unmet needs more often.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-420
PMCID: PMC3562142  PMID: 23173927
Divorce; Health care use; Subjective unmet need; Perceived unmet need; Mental health
3.  The association between residential area characteristics and mental health outcomes among men and women in Belgium 
Aim
Recently, interest has grown in the association between contextual factors and health outcomes. This study questions whether mental health complaints vary according to the socio-economic characteristics of the residential area where people live. The gender-specific patterns are studied.
Methods
Complaints of depression and generalized anxiety were measured by means of the relevant subscales of the Symptoms Checklist 90-Revised. Multilevel models were estimated with PASW statistics 18, based on a unique dataset, constructed by merging data from the Belgian Health Interview Surveys from 2001 and 2004 with data from 264 municipalities derived from Statistics Belgium and the General Socio-Economic Survey.
Main findings
The results of this exploratory study indicate that the local unemployment rate is associated with complaints of depression among women.
Conclusion
This study suggests that policy should approach the male and female population differently when implementing mental health prevention campaigns.
doi:10.1186/0778-7367-69-3
PMCID: PMC3436616  PMID: 22958473
4.  Pain acceptance and personal control in pain relief in two maternity care models: a cross-national comparison of Belgium and the Netherlands 
Background
A cross-national comparison of Belgian and Dutch childbearing women allows us to gain insight into the relative importance of pain acceptance and personal control in pain relief in 2 maternity care models. Although Belgium and the Netherlands are neighbouring countries sharing the same language, political system and geography, they are characterised by a different organisation of health care, particularly in maternity care. In Belgium the medical risks of childbirth are emphasised but neutralised by a strong belief in the merits of the medical model. Labour pain is perceived as a needless inconvenience easily resolved by means of pain medication. In the Netherlands the midwifery model of care defines childbirth as a normal physiological process and family event. Labour pain is perceived as an ally in the birth process.
Methods
Women were invited to participate in the study by independent midwives and obstetricians during antenatal visits in 2004-2005. Two questionnaires were filled out by 611 women, one at 30 weeks of pregnancy and one within the first 2 weeks after childbirth either at home or in a hospital. However, only women having a hospital birth without obstetric intervention (N = 327) were included in this analysis. A logistic regression analysis has been performed.
Results
Labour pain acceptance and personal control in pain relief render pain medication use during labour less likely, especially if they occur together. Apart from this general result, we also find large country differences. Dutch women with a normal hospital birth are six times less likely to use pain medication during labour, compared to their Belgian counterparts. This country difference cannot be explained by labour pain acceptance, since - in contrast to our working hypothesis - Dutch and Belgian women giving birth in a hospital setting are characterised by a similar labour pain acceptance. Our findings suggest that personal control in pain relief can partially explain the country differences in coping with labour pain. For Dutch women we find that the use of pain medication is lowest if women experience control over the reception of pain medication and have a positive attitude towards labour pain. In Belgium however, not personal control over the use of pain relief predicts the use of pain medication, but negative attitudes towards labour.
Conclusions
Apart from individual level determinants, such as length of labour or pain acceptance, our findings suggest that the maternity care context is of major importance in the study of the management of labour pain. The pain medication use in Belgian hospital maternity care is high and is very sensitive to negative attitudes towards labour pain. In the Netherlands, on the contrary, pain medication use is already low. This can partially be explained by a low degree of personal control in pain relief, especially when co-occurring with positive pain attitudes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-268
PMCID: PMC2944275  PMID: 20831798
5.  Divorce, divorce rates, and professional care seeking for mental health problems in Europe: a cross-sectional population-based study 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:224.
Background
Little is known about differences in professional care seeking based on marital status. The few existing studies show more professional care seeking among the divorced or separated compared to the married or cohabiting. The aim of this study is to determine whether, in a sample of the European general population, the divorced or separated seek more professional mental health care than the married or cohabiting, regardless of self-reported mental health problems. Furthermore, we examine whether two country-level features--the supply of mental health professionals and the country-level divorce rates--contribute to marital status differences in professional care-seeking behavior.
Methods
We use data from the Eurobarometer 248 on mental well-being that was collected via telephone interviews. The unweighted sample includes 27,146 respondents (11,728 men and 15,418 women). Poisson hierarchical regression models were estimated to examine whether the divorced or separated have higher professional health care use for emotional or psychological problems, after controlling for mental and somatic health, sociodemographic characteristics, support from family and friends, and degree of urbanization. We also considered country-level divorce rates and indicators of the supply of mental health professionals, and applied design and population weights.
Results
We find that professional care seeking is strongly need based. Moreover, the divorced or separated consult health professionals for mental health problems more often than people who are married or who cohabit do. In addition, we find that the gap between the divorced or separated and the married or cohabiting is highest in countries with low divorce rates.
Conclusions
The higher rates of professional care seeking for mental health problems among the divorced or separated only partially correlates with their more severe mental health problems. In countries where marital dissolution is more common, the marital status gap in professional care seeking is narrower, partially because professional care seeking is more common among the married or cohabiting.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-224
PMCID: PMC2879244  PMID: 20429904
6.  Part-time hospitalisation and stigma experiences: a study in contemporary psychiatric hospitals 
Background
Because numerous studies have revealed the negative consequences of stigmatisation, this study explores the determinants of stigma experiences. In particular, it examines whether or not part-time hospitalisation in contemporary psychiatric hospitals is associated with less stigma experiences than full-time hospitalisation.
Methods
Survey data on 378 clients of 42 wards from 8 psychiatric hospitals are used to compare full-time clients, part-time clients and clients receiving part-time care as aftercare on three dimensions of stigma experiences, while controlling for symptoms, diagnosis and clients' background characteristics.
Results
The results reveal that part-time clients without previous full-time hospitalisation report less social rejection than clients who receive full-time hospitalisation. In contrast, clients receiving part-time treatment as aftercare do not differ significantly from full-time clients concerning social rejection. No significant results for the other stigma dimensions were found.
Conclusion
Concerning social rejection, immediate part-time hospitalisation could be recommended as a means of destigmatisation for clients of contemporary psychiatric hospitals.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-125
PMCID: PMC2442430  PMID: 18544154
7.  Assessment of social psychological determinants of satisfaction with childbirth in a cross-national perspective 
Background
The fulfilment of expectations, labour pain, personal control and self-efficacy determine the postpartum evaluation of birth. However, researchers have seldom considered the multiple determinants in one analysis. To explore to what extent the results can be generalised between countries, we analyse data of Belgian and Dutch women. Although Belgium and the Netherlands share the same language, geography and political system and have a common history, their health care systems diverge. The Belgian maternity care system corresponds to the ideal type of the medical model, whereas the Dutch system approaches the midwifery model. In this paper we examine multiple determinants, the fulfilment of expectations, labour pain, personal control and self-efficacy, for their association with satisfaction with childbirth in a cross-national perspective.
Methods
Two questionnaires were filled out by 605 women, one at 30 weeks of pregnancy and one within the first 2 weeks after childbirth either at home or in a hospital. Of these, 560 questionnaires were usable for analysis. Women were invited to participate in the study by independent midwives and obstetricians during antenatal visits in 2004–2005. Satisfaction with childbirth was measured by the Mackey Satisfaction with Childbirth Rating Scale, which takes into account the multidimensional nature of the concept. Labour pain was rated retrospectively using Visual Analogue Scales. Personal control was assessed with the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire and Pearlin and Schooler's mastery scale. A hierarchical linear analysis was performed.
Results
Satisfaction with childbirth benefited most consistently from the fulfilment of expectations. In addition, the experience of personal control buffered the lowering impact of labour pain. Women with high self-efficacy showed more satisfaction with self-, midwife- and physician-related aspects of the birth experience.
Conclusion
Our findings focus the attention toward personal control, self-efficacy and expectations about childbirth. This study confirms the multidimensionality of childbirth satisfaction and demonstrates that different factors predict the various dimensions of satisfaction. The model applies to both Belgian and Dutch women. Cross-national comparative research should further assess the dependence of the determinants of childbirth satisfaction on the organisation of maternity care.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-26
PMCID: PMC2200649  PMID: 17963491
8.  Does a referral from home to hospital affect satisfaction with childbirth? A cross-national comparison 
Background
The Belgian and Dutch societies present many similarities but differ with regard to the organisation of maternity care. The Dutch way of giving birth is well known for its high percentage of home births and its low medical intervention rate. In contrast, home births in Belgium are uncommon and the medical model is taken for granted. Dutch and Belgian maternity care systems are compared with regard to the influence of being referred to specialist care during pregnancy or intrapartum while planning for a home birth. We expect that a referral will result in lower satisfaction with childbirth, especially in Belgium.
Methods
Two questionnaires were filled out by 605 women, one at 30 weeks of pregnancy and one within the first two weeks after childbirth, either at home or in a hospital. Of these, 563 questionnaires were usable for analysis. Women were invited to participate in the study by independent midwives and obstetricians during antenatal visits in 2004–2005. Satisfaction with childbirth was measured by the Mackey Satisfaction with Childbirth Rating Scale, which takes into account the multidimensional nature of the concept.
Results
Belgian women are more satisfied than Dutch women and home births are more satisfying than hospital births. Women who are referred to the hospital while planning for a home birth are less satisfied than women who planned to give birth in hospital and did. A referral has a greater negative impact on satisfaction for Dutch women.
Conclusion
There is no reason to believe Dutch women receive hospital care of lesser quality than Belgian women in case of a referral. Belgian and Dutch attach different meaning to being referred, resulting in a different evaluation of childbirth. In the Dutch maternity care system home births lead to higher satisfaction, but once a referral to the hospital is necessary satisfaction drops and ends up lower than satisfaction with hospital births that were planned in advance. We need to understand more about referral processes and how women experience them.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-7-109
PMCID: PMC1939703  PMID: 17626631

Results 1-8 (8)