Health need assessment in an indigenous high-altitude population living on an island in Lake Titicaca, Perú

Calderón, M.ía.; Alvarado-Villacorta, R.; Barrios, M.; Quiroz-Robladillo, D.; Guzmán Naupay, D.R.ío.; Obregon, A.; Calderón Chávez, S.; Glaser, L.; Carnero, A.M.; Cortez-Vergara, C.; Iglesias Quilca, D.; Colque Gonzales, J.; Moore, D.

International Journal for Equity in Health 18(1): 94


ISSN/ISBN: 1475-9276
PMID: 31215456
DOI: 10.1186/s12939-019-0993-3
Accession: 069071580

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Health needs and access to health care is a huge challenge in developing countries, especially in some isolated indigenous communities. Amantani is an island located at 3854 m above sea level in Lake Titicaca, Peru. There is no official date on key local health needs and determinants, which precludes the prioritization and efficient implementation of health interventions. The objective of this study is to validate a health need assessment tool and ascertain the main health needs of the indigenous high-altitude population living on Amantani. We conducted a cross-sectional study to describe the health needs of the indigenous population of Amantani using a questionnaire based on the "Peruvian Demographic and Health Survey". The questionnaire underwent expert and field-work validation. We selected a random sample of the island residents using two-stage cluster sampling. We estimated the prevalence of key health needs and determinants, and evaluated their distribution by age, sex and education through prevalence ratio. All analyses accounted for the complex sampling design. We surveyed 337 individuals (223 adults and 144 children) in 151 houses. The most frequent health needs were: (i) lack of access to medical screening for a)non-communicable diseases (> 63.0%) and b)eye problems (76.5%); and (ii) poor knowledge about communicable diseases (> 54.3%), cancer (71.4%) and contraception (> 32.9%). Smoking and alcohol use was more frequent in males (PR = 4.70 IC95%:1.41-15.63 and PR = 1.69 95% CI:1.27-2.25, respectively). People with higher education had more knowledge about TB/HIV and cancer prevention (p < 0.05). Regarding children's health, > 38% have never undergone eye or dental examination. Corporal punishment and physical bullying at school in the last month were relatively common (23 and 33%, respectively). The main health needs in Amantani are related to poor healthcare access and lack of awareness of disease prevention. Our findings can be used to develop and implement efficient health interventions to improve the health and quality of life of indigenous populations living in the islands in Southern Peru/Northern Bolivia.