Rights as Relationships: Collaborating with Faith Healers in Community Mental Health in Ghana

Abstract

This paper explores the ways in which mental health workers think through the ethics of working with traditional and faith healers in Ghana. Despite reforms along the lines advocated by global mental health, including rights-based legislation and the expansion of community-based mental health care, such healers remain popular resources for treatment and mechanical restraint and other forms of coercion commonplace. As recommended in global mental health policy, mental health workers are urged to form collaborations with healers to prevent human rights abuses and promote psychiatric alternatives for treatment. However, precisely how such collaborations might be established is seldom described. This paper draws on ethnographic research to investigate how mental health workers approach working with healers and the moral imagination which informs their relationship. Through an analysis of trainee mental health workers’ encounters with a Prophet and his patients, the paper reveals how mental health workers attempt to negotiate the tensions between their professional duty of care, their Christian faith, and the authority of healers. I argue that, rather than enforcing legal prohibitions, mental health workers seek to avoid confrontation and manouver within existing hierarchies, thereby preserving sentiments of obligation and reciprocity within a shared moral landscape and established forms of sociality.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Psychological wellbeing in a resource-limited work environment: examining levels and determinants among health workers in rural Malawi

Abstract Background

A competent, responsive, and productive health workforce is central to a well-performing health system capable of providing universal access to high-quality care. Ensuring health workers’ psychological wellbeing is critical to sustaining their availability and productivity. This is particularly true in heavily constrained health systems in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Research on the issue, however, is scarce. This study aimed to contribute to filling the gap in knowledge by investigating levels of and factors associated with psychological wellbeing of mid-level health workers in Malawi.

Methods

The study relied on a cross-sectional sample of 174 health workers from 33 primary- and secondary-level health facilities in four districts of Malawi. Psychological wellbeing was measured using the WHO-5 Wellbeing Index. Data were analyzed using linear and logistic regression models.

Results

Twenty-five percent of respondents had WHO-5 scores indicative of poor psychological wellbeing. Analyses of factors related to psychological wellbeing showed no association with sex, cadre, having dependents, supervision, perceived coworker support, satisfaction with the physical work environment, satisfaction with remuneration, and motivation; a positive association with respondents’ satisfaction with interpersonal relationships at work; and a negative association with having received professional training recently. Results were inconclusive in regard to personal relationship status, seniority and responsibility at the health facility, clinical knowledge, perceived competence, perceived supervisor support, satisfaction with job demands, health facility level, data collection year, and exposure to performance-based financing.

Conclusions

The high proportion of health workers with poor wellbeing scores is concerning in light of the general health workforce shortage in Malawi and strong links between wellbeing and work performance. While more research is needed to draw conclusions and provide recommendations as to how to enhance wellbeing, our results underline the importance of considering this as a key concern for human resources for health.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Correction to: Feminisation of the health workforce and wage conditions of health professions: an exploratory analysis

The original article [1] contained an error in the presentation of all figures and tables; each figure and table is now set out and designated appropriately in the original article.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Transforming tuberculosis (TB) service delivery model in China: issues and challenges for health workforce

Abstract Background

China’s TB control system has been transforming its service delivery model from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)-led model to the designated hospital-led model to combat the high disease burden of TB. The implications of the new service model on TB health workforce development remained unclear. This study aims to identify implications of the new service model on TB health workforce development and to analyze whether the new service model has been well equipped with appropriate health workforce.

Methods

The study applied mixed methods in Zhejiang, Jilin, and Ningxia provinces of China. Institutional survey on designated hospitals and CDC was conducted to measure the number of TB health workers. Individual questionnaire survey was conducted to measure the composition, income, and knowledge of health workers. Key informant interviews and focus group discussions were organized to explore policies in terms of recruitment, training, and motivation.

Results

Zhejiang, Jilin, and Ningxia provinces had 0.33, 0.95, and 0.47 TB health professionals per 10 000 population respectively. They met the national staffing standard at the provincial level but with great variety at the county level. County-designated hospitals recruited TB health professionals from other departments of the same hospital, existing TB health professionals who used to work in CDC, and from township health centers. County-designated hospitals recruited new TB health professionals from three different sources: other departments of the same hospital, CDC, and township health centers. Most newly recruited professionals had limited competence and put on fixed posts to only provide outpatient services. TB doctors got 67/100 scores from a TB knowledge test, while public health doctors got 77/100. TB professionals had an average monthly income of 4587 RMB (667 USD). Although the designated hospital had special financial incentives to support, they still had lower income than other health professionals due to their limited capacity to generate revenue through service provision.

Conclusions

The financing mechanism in designated hospitals and the job design need to be improved to provide sufficient incentive to attract qualified health professionals and motivate them to provide high-quality TB services.

Categorías: Investigaciones

The impacts of training pathways and experiences during intern year on doctor emigration from Ireland

Abstract Background

Emigration of domestically-trained health professionals is widespread, including in Ireland which has the highest rate of medical graduates in the OECD. Ireland’s failure to retain graduates necessitates high levels of international recruitment. This study aimed to identify factors associated with recently graduated doctors’ intention to migrate, focusing on their work experiences during the mandatory post-graduation year, their wellbeing, and their perceptions of postgraduate training in Ireland.

Methods

A baseline survey was administered online to all final year students in Ireland’s six medical schools. A subsequent sweep surveyed those who consented to follow-up (n = 483) during the final month of first year of practice.

Results

Of the 232 respondents (48% response rate), 210 (94%) were Irish passport holders. Of these, only 36% intended to remain in Ireland after their internship, 57% intended to leave but return later, and 7% intended to leave permanently. A strong predictor of intention was study pathway: 60% of Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) graduates and 25% of Direct Entry Medicine (DEM) graduates intended to remain in Ireland. Equal proportions intended to leave permanently (8% DEM, 6% GEM). Being a GEM graduate significantly reduced the likelihood of leaving to return (relative risk ratio (RRR) 0.20, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.11–0.39), p < 0.001).

When adjusted for study pathway, a negative experience as an intern increased the likelihood of leaving to return (RRR 1.16 CI (1.00–1.34), p = 0.043) and leaving permanently (1.54 (1.15–2.04), p = 0.003). Similarly, experience of callousness was associated with leaving to return (1.23 (1.03–1.46), p = 0.023) and leaving permanently (1.77 (1.24–2.53), p = 0.002), as was burnout with leaving permanently (1.57 (1.08–2.27), p = 0.017). Those planning to specialise in Medicine versus General Practice were more likely to leave and return (3.01 (1.09–8.34), p = 0.034). Those with negative perceptions of training in Ireland were more likely to leave and return (1.16 (1.01–1.34), p = 0.037); a positive perception reduced the likelihood of leaving permanently (0.50 (0.26–0.94), p = 0.032).

Conclusions

Increasing GEM training places might improve Ireland’s retention of domestically-trained doctors, reducing reliance on non-EU-trained doctors. However, improvements in the working experiences, perceptions of training, and protection of wellbeing are essential for retaining this highly sought-after and geographically mobile cohort.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Training the next generation of Africa’s doctors: why medical schools should embrace the team-based learning pedagogy

Abstract Background

As far back as 1995, the Cape Town Declaration on training Africa’s future doctor recognized the need for medical schools to adopt active-learning strategies in order to nurture holistic development of the doctor. However, medical education in Africa remains largely stuck with traditional pedagogies that emphasize the ‘hard skills’ such as knowledge and clinical acumen while doing little to develop ‘soft skills’ such as effective communication, teamwork, critical thinking or life-long learning skills.

Body of abstract

By reviewing literature on Africa’s epidemiologic and demographic transitions, we establish the need for increasing the output of well-trained doctors in order to match the continent’s complex current and future healthcare needs. Challenges that bedevil African medical education such as outdated curricula, limited educational infrastructure and chronic resource constraints are presented and discussed. Furthermore, increased student enrollments, a trend observed at many schools, coupled with chronic faculty shortages have inadvertently presented specific barriers against the success of small-group active-learning strategies such as Problem-Based and Case-Based Learning. We argue that Team-Based Learning (TBL) offers a robust alternative for delivering holistic medical education in the current setting. TBL is instructor-driven and embodies key attributes that foster development of both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. We elaborate on advantages that TBL is likely to bring to the African medical education landscape, including increased learner enthusiasm and creativity, accountability, peer mentorship, deep learning and better knowledge retention. As with all new pedagogical methods, challenges anticipated during initial implementation of TBL are discussed followed by the limited pilot experiences with TBL in Africa.

Conclusion

For its ability to enable a student-centered, active learning experience delivered at minimum cost, we encourage individual instructors and African medical schools at large, to adopt TBL as a complementary strategy towards realizing the goal of training Africa’s fit-for-purpose doctor.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Human stickiness as a counterforce to brain drain: Purpose-driven behaviour among Tanzanian medical doctors and implications for policy

Abstract

We explain why a group of Tanzanian medical doctors decided to stay in their home country despite a massive brain drain and pressure to migrate. We argue that purpose-driven behaviour among medical doctors serves as a counterforce to brain drain, fostering human stickiness in a developing country context. A sense of purpose provides a novel lens to understand voluntary non-migration of highly-skilled professionals under extreme conditions. Furthermore, incoming expatriate doctors build local capacity by sharing skills and expertise with Tanzanian doctors. This affects the medical doctors’ motives to migrate, further reducing brain drain. These individual-level decisions not to migrate find their application in policy. We advocate policies that support purpose-driven behaviour and generate long-term commitment to a location, while advancing short-term mobility for knowledge sharing. The policy initiatives are targeted at actors in the sending and receiving countries as well as in international organisations, covering concerted multi-layered policies to support family and community embeddedness, to facilitate the incoming of expatriate doctors and foreign exchange, and to cultivate benefits of circular migration. We argue that migration behaviour is more individually grounded and socio-emotionally constructed than what dominant economic-based explanations suggest.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Job satisfaction of public and private primary care physicians in Malaysia: analysis of findings from QUALICO-PC

Abstract Background

Job satisfaction of doctors is an important factor determining quality and performance of a health system. The aim of this study was to assess job satisfaction among doctors of the public and private primary care clinics in Malaysia and evaluate factors that could influence the job satisfaction rating.

Methods

This study was part of the Quality and Costs of Primary Care (QUALICOPC) Malaysia, a cross-sectional survey conducted between August 2015 and June 2016 in Malaysia. Data was collected from doctors recruited from public and private primary care clinics using a standardised questionnaire. Comparisons were made between doctors working in public and private clinics, and logistic regression analysis was used to determine factors influencing the likelihood of job satisfaction outcomes.

Results

A total of 221 doctors from the public and 239 doctors from the private sector completed the questionnaire. Compared to private doctors, a higher proportion of public doctors felt they were being overloaded with the administrative task (59.7% vs 36.0%) and part of the work does not make sense (33.9% vs 18.4%). Only 62.9% of public doctors felt that there was a good balance between effort and reward while a significantly higher proportion (85.8%) of private doctors reported the same. Over 80% of doctors in both sectors indicated continued interest in their job and agreed that being a doctor is a well-respected job. Logistic regression analysis showed public-private sector and practice location (urban-rural) to be significantly associated with work satisfaction outcomes.

Conclusion

A higher proportion of public doctors experienced pressure from administrative tasks and felt that part of their work does not make sense than their colleague in the private sector. At the same time, the majority of private doctors reported positive outcome on effort-and-reward balance compared to only one third of public doctors. The finding suggests that decreasing administrative workload and enhancing work-based supports might be the most effective ways to improve job satisfaction of primary care doctors because these are some of the main aspects of the job that doctors, especially in public clinics, are most unhappy with.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Optimising the performance of frontline implementers engaged in the NTD programme in Nigeria: lessons for strengthening community health systems for universal health coverage

Abstract Background

The control and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) is dependent on mass administration of medicines (MAM) in communities and schools by community drug distributers (CDDs) who are supported and supervised by health facility staff (FLHF) and teachers. Understanding how to motivate, retain and optimise their performance is essential to ensure communities accept medicines. This study aimed to capture and translate knowledge, problems and solutions, identified by implementers, to enhance NTD programme delivery at the community level in Nigeria.

Methods

Qualitative data was collected through participatory stakeholder workshops organised around two themes: (i) identification of problems and (ii) finding solutions. Eighteen problem-focused workshops and 20 solution-focussed workshops were held with FLHF, CDDs and teachers in 12 purposively selected local government areas (LGA) across two states in Nigeria, Ogun and Kaduna States.

Result

The problems and solutions identified by frontline implementers were organised into three broad themes: technical support, social support and incentives. Areas identified for technical support included training, supervision, human resource management and workload, equipment and resources and timing of MAM implementation. Social support needs were for more equitable drug distributor selection processes, effective community sensitisation mechanisms and being associated with the health system. Incentives identified were both non-financial and financial including receiving positive community feedback and recognition and monetary remuneration. The results led to the development of the ‘NTD frontline implementer’s framework’ which was adapted from the Community Health Worker (CHW) Generic Logic Model by Naimoli et al. (Hum Resour Health 12:56, 2014).

Conclusion

Maximising performance of frontline implementers is key to successful attainment of NTD goals and other health interventions. As NTDs are viewed as a ‘litmus test’ for universal health coverage, the lessons shared here could cut across programmes aiming to achieve equitable coverage. It is critical to strengthen the collaboration between health systems and communities so that together they can jointly provide the necessary support for frontline implementers to deliver health for all. This research presents additional evidence that involving frontline implementers in the planning and implementation of health interventions through regular feedback before, during and after implementation has the potential to strengthen health outcomes.

Categorías: Investigaciones

What motivates individuals to volunteer in Ebola epidemic response? A structural approach in Guinea

Abstract Background

The 2014–2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa placed greater demands on the affected countries’ already scarce health workforce. Consequently, governments in the most affected West African countries made appeals for volunteers to join Ebola response programs. Those volunteers played an important yet high-risk role in aiding the victims of the Ebola epidemic and in limiting its spread. However, little is known as to what motivated those volunteers to commit themselves to the Ebola response programs. This information is important for planning for volunteer recruitment strategies during future epidemics. The aim of the present study, therefore, was to identify and assess the motivations that led individuals to volunteer for Ebola response programs in West Africa.

Methods

The study participants were 600 persons who volunteered through the Guinean Ebola response program during the 2014–2016 epidemic. From February to May 2016, they were presented with a questionnaire that contained 50 assertions referring to possible motives for volunteering in the Ebola response program and indicated their degree of agreement with each of them on a scale of 0–10. The responses were analyzed using factor analysis.

Results

Seven separable volunteer motivations were identified. “Feeling of patriotic duty” (M = 9.02) and “Feeling of moral responsibility” (M = 8.12) clearly emerged as the most important. Second-tier motivations were “Compliance with authority” (M = 6.66), “Desire to use one’s skills for a collective good” (M = 6.49), “Seeking personal growth” (M = 5.93), “Desire to gain community recognition” (M = 5.13), and “Hoping for a career reorientation” (M = 4.52).

Conclusions

These findings strongly suggest that volunteer recruitment, if needed in future Ebola epidemics, must adopt a multifaceted motivational approach rather than focus on one single motivator. Putting relatively more emphasis on motivational messages referring to patriotic values, as well as to moral responsibility, would likely increase volunteering.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Implementation of an older person’s nurse practitioner in rural aged care in Victoria, Australia: a qualitative study

Abstract Background

There are staff shortages nation-wide in residential aged care, which is only predicted to grow as the population ages in Australia. The aged care staff shortage is compounded in rural and remote areas where the health service workforce overall experiences difficulties in recruitment and retention. There is evidence that nurse practitioners fill important service gaps in aged care and rural health care but also evidence that barriers exist in introducing this extended practice role.

Methods

In 2018, 58 medical and direct care staff participated in interviews and focus groups about the implementation of an older person’s nurse practitioner (OPNP) in aged care. All 58 interviewees had previously or currently worked in an aged care setting where the OPNP delivered services.

The interviews were analysed using May’s implementation theory framework to better understand staff perceptions of barriers and enablers when an OPNP was introduced to the workplace.

Results

The major perceived barrier to capacity of implementing the OPNP was a lack of material resources, namely funding of the role given the OPNP’s limited ability to self-fund through access to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). Staff perceived that benefits included timely access to care for residents, hospital avoidance and improved resident health outcomes.

Conclusion

Despite staff perceptions of more timely access to care for residents and improved outcomes, widespread implementation of the OPNP role may be hampered by a poor understanding of the role of an OPNP and the legislative requirement for a collaborative arrangement with a medical practitioner as well as limited access to the MBS.

This study was not a registered trial.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Extent, nature and consequences of performing outside scope of training in global health

Abstract Background

Globalization has made it possible for global health professionals and trainees to participate in short-term training and professional experiences in a variety of clinical- and non-clinical activities across borders. Consequently, greater numbers of healthcare professionals and trainees from high-income countries (HICs) are working or volunteering abroad and participating in short-term experiences in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). How effective these activities are in advancing global health and in addressing the crisis of human resources for health remains controversial. What is known, however, is that during these short-term experiences in global health (STEGH), health professionals and those in training often face substantive ethical challenges. A common dilemma described is that of acting outside of one’s scope of training. However, the frequency, nature, circumstances, and consequences of performing outside scope of training (POST) have not been well-explored or quantified.

Methods

The authors conducted an online survey of HIC health professionals and trainees working or volunteering in LMICs about their experiences with POST, within the last 5 years.

Results

A total of 223 survey responses were included in the final analysis. Half (49%) of respondents reported having been asked to perform outside their scope of training; of these, 61% reported POST. Trainees were nearly twice as likely as licensed professionals to report POST. Common reasons cited for POST were a mismatch of skills with host expectations, suboptimal supervision at host sites, inadequate preparation to decline POST, a perceived lack of alternative options and emergency situations. Many of the respondents who reported POST expressed moral distress that persisted over time.

Conclusions

Given that POST is ethically problematic and legally impermissible, the high rates of being asked, and deciding to do so, were notable. Based on these findings, the authors suggest that additional efforts are needed to reduce the incidence of POST during STEGH, including pre-departure training to navigate dilemmas concerning POST, clear communication regarding expectations, and greater attention to the moral distress experienced by those contending with POST.

Categorías: Investigaciones

An activity analysis of Dutch hospital-based physician assistants and nurse practitioners

Abstract Background

The physician assistant (PA) and the nurse practitioner (NP) were introduced into The Netherlands in 2001 and 1997 respectively. By the second decade, national policies had accelerated the acceptance and development of these professions. Since 2015, the PA and NP have full practice authority as independent health professionals. The aim of this research was to gain a better understanding of the tasks and responsibilities that are being shifted from Medical Doctors (MD) to PAs and NPs in hospitals. More specifically in what context and visibility are these tasks undertaken by hospital-based PAs and NPs in patient care. This will enable them to communicate their worth to the hospital management.

Study design

A descriptive, non-experimental research method design was used to collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data about the type of tasks performed by a PA or NP. Fifteen medical departments across four hospitals participated.

Methods

The patient scheduling system and hospital information system were probed to identify and characterize a wide variety of clinical tasks. The array of tasks was further verified by 108 interviews. All tasks were divided into direct and indirect patient care. Once the tasks were cataloged, then MDs and hospital managers graded the PA- or NP-performed tasks and assessed their contributions to the hospital management system.

Findings

In total, 2883 tasks were assessed. Overall, PAs and NPs performed a wide variety of clinical and administrative tasks, which differed across hospitals and medical specialties. Data from interviews and the hospital management systems revealed that over a third of the tasks were not properly registered or attributed to the PA or NP. After correction, it was found that the NP and PA spent more than two thirds of their working time on direct patient care.

Conclusions

NPs and PAs performed a wide variety of clinical tasks, and the consistency of these tasks differed per medical specialty. Despite the fact that a large part of the tasks was not visible due to incorrect administration, the interviews with MDs and managers revealed that the use of an NP or PA was considered to have an added value at the quality of care as well to the production for hospital-based medical care in The Netherlands.

Categorías: Investigaciones

The National Village Health Guide Scheme in India: lessons four decades later for community health worker programs today and tomorrow

Abstract Background

Based in part on the success of India’s early community health worker (CHW) programs, the Government of India launched in 1977 a national CHW scheme—the Village Health Guides (VHGs)—to provide preventive, promotive, and basic curative care to rural populations. Although this program had promising origins in smaller demonstration projects, it failed to deliver the hoped-for impact at scale and was abandoned. Based on extensive evidence and experience, the World Health Organization and the World Health Assembly have strongly endorsed the value of national CHW programs and their integration into national health systems. Surprisingly, given the scale and importance of the VHG program and its pioneering nature as a national CHW program, little has been published describing this experience. This article is the second in a series that focuses on critical issues that face the effectiveness of large-scale CHW programs.

Case presentation

Several systemic factors emerge as main contributors to the failure of the VHG Scheme, namely, a lack of support from the formal health sector, an overly hasty implementation of the scheme, and poor communication between the government and health centers about the role of the VHGs. The remuneration structure and the VHG selection process were at the root of the program’s shortcomings at the implementation level.

Conclusion

National CHW schemes are an increasingly important tool for achieving universal health coverage and ending maternal and child deaths by 2030. Although the VHG Scheme was initiated over 40 years ago, the lessons described in this case highlight important considerations to help both current and future large-scale CHW programs avoid the same pitfalls.

Categorías: Investigaciones

Status of healthcare workers after comprehensive reform of urban public hospitals in Beijing, China: sustainable supply, psychological perception, and work outcomes

Abstract Background

Healthcare reform in China has attracted worldwide interest and reached a new juncture. In an attempt to improve healthcare quality and patient satisfaction, the government of Beijing introduced comprehensive reform of urban public hospitals in 2016 and implemented new policies on personnel, compensation, management, and diagnosis and treatment. As the agents of healthcare service, and a target of reform measures, healthcare workers were greatly affected by these reforms but have not been carefully studied.

Methods

This study used mean value analysis, variance analysis, and qualitative content analysis to investigate the status of healthcare workers after comprehensive reform of urban public hospitals in Beijing.

Results

We found a gradual but constant increase in the number of healthcare workers in poor health in Beijing public hospitals. After the reforms, this population reported high challenge stress, public service motivation, job satisfaction, job performance and quality of healthcare, moderate presenteeism, and low hindrance stress and turnover intention. The status of healthcare workers differed by subgroup and changed during the reform process.

Conclusions

Our study provides data useful for policy recommendations regarding the implementation and extension of future reforms and offers important lessons for developing and developed countries that are reforming public hospitals to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Categorías: Investigaciones

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