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A community-based participatory research approach to explore community perceptions of the quality of maternal-newborn health services in the Dominican Republic

A community-based participatory research approach to explore community perceptions of the quality of maternal-newborn health services in the Dominican Republic

Midwifery 26(5): 504-511

ISSN/ISBN: 0266-6138

PMID: 20692744

DOI: 10.1016/j.midw.2010.06.001

to understand both men's and women's beliefs and attitudes regarding public maternity and newborn services, care and quality. qualitative, cross-sectional, retrospective study with an observation arm, using community-based participatory research as both the mechanism of enquiry and catalyst for change. four urban neighbourhoods in the Dominican Republic, selected in collaboration with the Provincial Medical Public Health Director and the partnering local public hospital. adolescent women (15-20 years of age), adult women (21-49 years of age) and adult men (>19 years of age) from the four neighbourhoods were recruited to participate in focus sessions, personal interviews and/or antenatal observations. A total number of 137 participants were recruited: 27 males, 51 adolescent females and 59 adult females. The attrition rate was 17% (n=23). Dominican and US midwives and nurses, as well as community leaders, comprised the research team. following informed consent, self-reported demographics and obstetric history were collected. Twelve focus groups and 12 individual interviews were recorded and transcribed, then qualitatively analysed for content and interpretation of salient themes. Antenatal observations were performed by community leaders to identify patterns of antenatal health-care delivery and utilisation. The main over-riding theme uncovered by the research was 'no me hace caso', or that women and men accessing the maternal health system did not feel valued. The significant amount of time required to receive care was interpreted by the participants as a lack of respect. Finally, the idea of 'cuña' emerged, in which participants noted special treatment for those with social connections to health-care providers. Presentation to the hospital was challenging but resulted in hospital volunteers joining the community volunteer group to collaborate on improving services. this study, conducted in the Dominican Republic, illustrates international collaboration between university researchers, maternity service providers and community members. Community-based participatory research may be an effective mechanism to unite community members and health providers in the common mission to improve maternal-newborn health services.

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Accession: 051105653

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