The dangers of managerial perversion: quality assurance in primary health care.
The promotion of primary health care (PHC) at the Alma Ata conference has been followed by a variety of managerial initiatives in support of the development of PHC. One of the more promising vehicles has been the implementation of quality assurance mechanisms. This paper reviews recent examples of this genre and argues that the thrust of both primary health care and quality assurance are in danger of being distorted by a rather antiquated approach to management. (+info)
Micro-level planning using rapid assessment for primary health care services.
This paper describes the use of a rapid assessment technique in micro-level planning for primary health care services which has been developed in India. This methodology involves collecting household-level data through a quick sample survey to estimate client needs, coverage of services and unmet need, and using this data to formulate micro-level plans aimed at improving service coverage and quality for a primary health centre area. Analysis of the data helps to identify village level variations in unmet need and develop village profiles from which general interventions for overall improvement of service coverage and targeted interventions for selected villages are identified. A PHC area plan is developed based on such interventions. This system was tried out in 113 villages of three PHC centres of a district in Gujarat state of India. It demonstrated the feasibility and utility of this approach. However, it also revealed the barriers in the institutionalization of the system on a wider scale. The proposed micro-level planning methodology using rapid assessment would improve client-responsiveness of the health care system and provide a basis for increased decentralization. By focusing attention on under-served areas, it would promote equity in the use of health services. It would also help improve efficiency by making it possible to focus efforts on a small group of villages which account for most of the unmet need for services in an area. Thus the proposed methodology seems to be a feasible and an attractive alternative to the current top-down, target-based health planning in India. (+info)
Assessing and planning home-based care for persons with AIDS.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to gather momentum in many developing countries, increasing the already heavy burden on health care facilities. As a result, donors, implementing partners and communities are beginning to create home-based care programmes to provide care for persons with HIV/AIDS. This paper recommends reorienting this home care provision as a service founded in, and coming from, the community rather than the health system. A methodology, in the form of an assessment matrix, is provided to facilitate the assessment of a community's capacity to provide care for people with AIDS. The focus is on rapid assessment methods using, where possible, readily available information to clearly and systematically define current circumstances. The matrix created for a specific community is then used in the development of an action plan with interventions prioritized and tailored to local needs. A case study from a hypothetical developing country, where HIV/AIDS is a significant problem, is used to illustrate the process. (+info)
Knowledge, attitudes and practices during a community-level ivermectin distribution campaign in Guatemala.
Community acceptance and participation are essential for the success of mass ivermectin chemotherapy programmes for onchocerciasis (river blindness). To explore the local understanding of the purpose of ivermectin and willingness to continue taking the drug, we performed questionnaire surveys in four communities with hyperendemic onchocerciasis after each of three ivermectin treatment rounds. More than 100 respondents participated in each KAP survey, representing the heads of 30% of the households in each community. The respondents rarely stated that the goal of the ivermectin treatment programme was to prevent visual loss. Instead, they said they were taking the drug for their general well-being, to cure the onchocercal nodule (filaria), or to cure the microfilaria, a term newly introduced by agents of the treatment programme. The principal reason identified for refusal to take ivermectin was anxiety about drug-related adverse reactions, and there were marked differences between communities in acceptance of treatment. In one community over 50% of residents initially refused to take ivermectin, although participation rates improved somewhat after programmatic adjustments. We recommend that ivermectin distribution programmes establish surveillance activities to detect where acceptance is poor, so that timely and community-specific adjustments may be devised to improve participation. (+info)
Primary health care, community participation and community-financing: experiences of two middle hill villages in Nepal.
Although community involvement in health related activities is generally acknowledged by international and national health planners to be the key to the successful organization of primary health care, comparatively little is known about its potential and limitations. Drawing on the experiences of two middle hill villages in Nepal, this paper reports on research undertaken to compare and contrast the scope and extent of community participation in the delivery of primary health care in a community run and financed health post and a state run and financed health post. Unlike many other health posts in Nepal these facilities do provide effective curative services, and neither of them suffer from chronic shortage of drugs. However, community-financing did not appear to widen the scope and the extent of participation. Villagers in both communities relied on the health post for the treatment of less than one-third of symptoms, and despite the planners' intentions, community involvement outside participation in benefits was found to be very limited. (+info)
Developing a plan for primary health care facilities in Soweto, South Africa. Part I: Guiding principles and methods.
The new political era in South Africa offers unique opportunities for the development of more equitable health care policies. However, resource constraints are likely to remain in the foreseeable future, and efficiency therefore remains an important concern. This article describes the guiding principles and methods used to develop a coherent and objective plan for comprehensive primary health care facilities in Soweto. The article begins with an overview of the context within which the research was undertaken. Problems associated with planning in transition are highlighted, and a participatory research approach is recommended as a solution to these problems. The article goes on to describe how the research methods were developed and applied in line with the principles of participatory research. The methods were essentially rapid appraisal techniques which included group discussions, detailed checklists, observation, record reviews and the adaptation of international and local guidelines for service planning. It is suggested that these methods could be applied to other urban areas in South Africa and elsewhere, and that they are particularly appropriate in periods of transition when careful facilitation of dialogue between stakeholders is required in tandem with the generation of rapid results for policy-makers. (+info)
Health policy development in wartime: establishing the Baito health system in Tigray, Ethiopia.
This paper documents health experiences and the public health activities of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The paper provides background data about Tigray and the emergence of its struggle for a democratic Ethiopia. The origins of the armed struggle are described, as well as the impact of the conflict on local health systems and health status. The health-related activities and public health strategies of the TPLF are described and critiqued in some detail, particular attention is focused on the development of the baito system, the emergent local government structures kindled by the TPLF as a means of promoting local democracy, accountability, and social and economic development. Important issues arise from this brief case-study, such as how emerging health systems operating in wartime can ensure that not only are basic curative services maintained, but preventive and public health services are developed. Documenting the experiences of Tigray helps identify constraints and possibilities for assisting health systems to adapt and cope with ongoing conflict, and raises possibilities that in their aftermath they leave something which can be built upon and further developed. It appears that promoting effective local government may be an important means of promoting primary health care. (+info)
Sustaining malaria prevention in Benin: local production of bednets.
Through a Benin-Canada participatory research initiative which included both Benin and Canadian non-governmental organizations, a local capacity to produce and market bednets for the prevention of malaria was developed. The development process began following a community-based assessment of local needs and skills. All materials for the manufacture and distribution of the bednets were obtained locally with the exception of the netting which was imported from Canada. The sustainability of the enterprise is enhanced by the community's recognition of the importance of malaria and the culturally acceptable practice of bednet use. (+info)