Now showing 1 - 10 of 16
  • Publication
    Policy Brief: Community engagement for COVID-19 infection prevention and control: A rapid review of the evidence
    The integration and involvement ofcommunities in COVID-19 prevention andcontrol is a potential and viable strategy inaddressing the pandemic and has beensuggested by The World Health Organization,UNICEF and IFRC among others. Indeed, therecommended measures to prevent and controlCOVID-19 such as physical-social distancing,case identification and contact tracing requireunderstanding of the different social dynamicsin communities and how these can better beleveraged to minimize the impact of theepidemic.
  • Publication
    A realist review protocol on communications for community engagement in maternal and newborn health programmes in low- and middle-income countries
    Background: Community engagement (CE) has been increasingly implemented across health interventions, including for maternal and newborn health (MNH). This may take various forms, from participatory women’s groups and community health committees to public advocacy days. While research suggests a positive influence of CE on MNH outcomes, such as mortality or care-seeking behaviour, there is a need for further evidence on the processes of CE in different settings in order to inform the future development and implementation of CE across programmes. Communication is an integral component of CE serving as a link between the programme and community. The aim of the realist review described in this protocol is to understand how, why, to what extent, and for whom CE contributes to intended and unintended outcomes in MNH programming, focusing on the communication components of CE. Methods: Realist review methodology will be used to provide a causal understanding of what communication for CE interventions in MNH programming work, for whom, to what extent, why, and how. This will be done by developing and refining programme theories on communications for CE in MNH through a systematic review of the literature and engaging key experts for input and feedback. By extrapolating context-mechanism-outcome configurations, this review seeks to understand how certain contexts trigger or inhibit specific mechanisms and what outcomes this interaction generates when communication in CE interventions is used in MNH programming. Discussion: A realist philosophy is well-suited to address the aims of this study because of the complex nature of CE. The review findings will be used to inform a realist evaluation case study of CE for an MNH programme in order to ascertain transferable findings that can inform and guide engagement activities in various settings. Findings will also be shared with stakeholders and experts involved in the consultative processes of the review (through workshops or policy briefs) in order to ensure the relevance of these findings to policy and practice.
    Scopus© Citations 3  25
  • Publication
    Measuring motivation among close-to-community health workers: developing the CTC Provider Motivational Indicator Scale across six countries
    Background: Close-to-community (CTC) health service providers are a cost-effective and important resource in the promotion of and increasing access to health services. However, many CTC provider programmes suffer from high rates of de-motivation and attrition due to inadequate support systems. Recent literature has identified the lack of rigorous approaches towards measuring and monitoring motivation among CTC providers as an important gap. Building on scales used in previous studies, we set out to develop a short, simple-to-administer scale to monitor and measure indicators of CTC provider motivation across CTC programmes implemented in six countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. Methods: We used focus group discussions (n = 18) and interviews (n = 106) conducted with CTC providers across all six countries, applying thematic analysis techniques to identify key determinants of motivation across these contexts. These themes were then used to carry out a systematic search of the literature, to identify existing scales or questionnaires developed for the measurement of these themes. A composite 24-item scale was then administered to CTC providers (n = 695) across the six countries. Survey responses were subsequently randomly assigned to one of two datasets: the first for scale refinement, using exploratory techniques, and the second for factorial validation. Confirmatory factor analysis was applied to both datasets. Results: Results suggest a 12-item, four-factor structure, measuring community commitment, organisational commitment, job satisfaction, and work conscientiousness as common indicators of motivation among CTC providers across the six countries. Conclusions: Consistent with previous studies, findings support the inclusion of job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and work conscientiousness within the CTC Provider Motivation Indicator Scale. In addition, findings further supported the addition of a fourth, community commitment, sub-scale. Practical applications of the revised scale, including how it can be applied to monitor motivation levels within CTC provider programming, are discussed.
    Scopus© Citations 5  202
  • Publication
    Contact tracing during the COVID-19 outbreak: a protocol for enabling rapid learning from experiences and exploring the psychological impact on contact tracers
    Background: Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish health system required the redeployment of public sector staff and the recruitment of dedicated contact tracing staff in the effort to contain the spread of the virus. Contact tracing is crucial for effective disease control and is normally a role carried out by public health teams. Contact tracing staff are provided with rapid intensive training but are operating in a dynamic environment where processes and advice are adapting continuously. Real-time data is essential to inform strategy, coordinate interconnected processes, and respond to needs. Given that many contact tracers have been newly recruited or redeployed, they may not have significant experience in healthcare and may experience difficulties in managing the anxieties and emotional distress of members of the public. Aim: This research aims to: (i) identify emerging needs and issues and feed this information back to the Health Service Executive for updates to the COVID-19 Contact Management Programme (CMP); (ii) understand the psychological impact on contact tracers and inform the development of appropriate supports. Methods: We will use a mixed-methods approach. A brief online survey will be administered at up to three time points during 2021 to measure emotional exhaustion, anxiety, general health, and stress of contact tracing staff, identify tracing systems or processes issues, as well as issues of concern and confusion among the public. Interviews will also be conducted with a subset of participants to achieve a more in-depth understanding of these experiences. Observations may be conducted in contact tracing centres to document processes, practices, and explore any local contextual issues. Impact: Regular briefs arising from this research with data, analysis, and recommendations will aim to support the work of the CMP to identify problems and implement solutions. We will deliver regular feedback on systems issues; challenges; and the psychological well-being of contact tracing staff.
    Scopus© Citations 2  437
  • Publication
    Applying and reporting relevance, richness, and rigour in realist evidence appraisals: Advancing key concepts in realist reviews
    The realist review/synthesis has become an increasingly prominent methodological approach to evidence synthesis that can inform policy and practice. While there are publication standards and guidelines for the conduct of realist reviews, published reviews often provide minimal detail regarding how they have conducted some methodological steps. This includes selecting and appraising evidence sources, which are often considered for their 'relevance, richness, and rigour.' In contrast to other review approaches, for example, narrative reviews and meta-analyses, the inclusion criteria and appraisal of evidence within realist reviews depend less on the study's methodological quality and more on its contribution to our understanding of generative causation, uncovered through the process of retroductive theorising. This research brief aims to discuss the current challenges and practices for appraising documents' relevance, richness, and rigour and to provide pragmatic suggestions for how realist reviewers can put this into practice.
    Scopus© Citations 17  55
  • Publication
    Adapting health interventions for local fit when scaling-up: A realist review protocol
    Introduction: Scaling-up is essential to ensure universal access of effective health interventions. Scaling-up is a complex process, which occurs across diverse systems and contexts with no one-size-fits-all approach. To date, little attention has been paid to the process of scaling-up in how to make adaptations for local fit. The aim of this research is to develop theory on what actions can be used to make adaptations to health interventions for local fit when scaling-up across diverse contexts that will have practical application for implementers involved in scaling-up. Methods and analysis: Given the complexity of this subject, a realist review methodology was selected. Specifically, realist review emphasises an iterative, non-linear process, whereby the review is refined as it progresses. The identification of how the context may activate mechanisms to achieve outcomes is used to generate theories on what works for whom in what circumstances. This protocol will describe the first completed stage of development of an initial programme theory framework, which identified potential actions, contexts, mechanisms and outcomes that could be used to make adaptations when scaling-up. It will then outline the methods for future stages of the review which will focus on identifying case examples of scale-up and adaptation in practice. This realist review consists of six stages: (i) clarifying scope and development of a theoretical framework, (ii) developing a search strategy, (iii) selection and appraisal, (iv) data extraction, (v) data synthesis and analysis and (vi) further theory refinement with stakeholders. Ethics and dissemination: This review will develop theory on how adaptations can be made when scaling-up. Findings will be disseminated in a peer-reviewed journal and through stakeholder engagement as part of the research process. Ethical approval has been received through Health Policy and Management/Centre for Global Health Research Ethics Committee of Trinity College Dublin.
    Scopus© Citations 30  452
  • Publication
    What’s in a name? Unpacking ‘Community Blank’ terminology in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health: a scoping review
    Introduction: Engaging the community as actors within reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) programmes (referred to as ‘community blank’) has seen increased implementation in recent years. While evidence suggests these approaches are effective, terminology (such as ‘community engagement,’ ‘community participation,’ ‘community mobilisation,’ and ‘social accountability’) is often used interchangeably across published literature, contributing to a lack of conceptual clarity in practice. The purpose of this review was to describe and clarify varying uses of these terms in the literature by documenting what authors and implementers report they are doing when they use these terms. Methods: Seven academic databases (PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Scopus, Web of Science, Global Health), two grey literature databases (OAIster, OpenGrey) and relevant organisation websites were searched for documents that described ‘community blank’ terms in RMNCH interventions. Eligibility criteria included being published between 1975 and 1 October 2021 and reports or studies detailing the activities used in ‘community blank.’ Results: A total of 9779 unique documents were retrieved and screened, with 173 included for analysis. Twenty-four distinct ‘community blank’ terms were used across the documents, falling into 11 broader terms. Use of these terms was distributed across time and all six WHO regions, with ‘community mobilisation’, ‘community engagement’ and ‘community participation’ being the most frequently used terms. While 48 unique activities were described, only 25 activities were mentioned more than twice and 19 of these were attributed to at least three different ‘community blank’ terms. Conclusion: Across the literature, there is inconsistency in the usage of ‘community blank’ terms for RMNCH. There is an observed interchangeable use of terms and a lack of descriptions of these terms provided in the literature. There is a need for RMNCH researchers and practitioners to clarify the descriptions reported and improve the documentation of ‘community blank’ implementation. This can contribute to a better sharing of learning within and across communities and to bringing evidence-based practices to scale. Efforts to improve reporting can be supported with the use of standardised monitoring and evaluation processes and indicators. Therefore, it is recommended that future research endeavours clarify the operational definitions of ‘community blank’ and improve the documentation of its implementation.
      36Scopus© Citations 2
  • Publication
    Impact of COVID-19 on the private and professional lives of highly educated women working in global health in Europe—A qualitative study
    Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a deepening of existing inequalities and a rollback of achievements made in gender equality. Women in Global Health (WGH) is a global movement that aims to achieve gender equality in health and increase female leadership in global health. Here, the aim was to understand how the pandemic affects the private and professional lives of women working in global health in different European countries. Suggestions for future pandemic preparedness including how gender perspectives should be integrated into pandemic preparedness and how a women's network such as WGH helped them to overcome the impact of the pandemic were explored. Methods: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted in September 2020 with a sample size of nine highly educated women with a mean age of 42.1 years from the different WGH European chapters. The participants were informed of the study and were formally asked for their consent. The interviews were held in English via an online videoconference platform and lasted 20–25 min each. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was conducted according to Mayring Qualitative Content Analysis using MAXQDA. Results: The pandemic has both positive and negative effects on the professional and private lives of women. It led to an increased workload and stress as well as pressure to publish on COVID-19-related themes. Increased childcare and household responsibilities represented a double burden. The available space was limited if other family members were also working from home. Positive aspects included more time for family or partners and reduced travel. The participants report on perceived gender differences in the experience of the pandemic. International cooperation is considered to be a key factor for future pandemic preparedness. Being part of a women's network such as WGH was perceived as being very supportive in difficult situations during the pandemic. Conclusion: This study provides unique insights into the experiences of women working in global health in different European countries. The COVID-19 pandemic influences their professional and private lives. Perceived gender differences are reported and suggest the need for integrating gender perspectives in pandemic preparedness. Networks for women, such as WGH, can facilitate the exchange of information in crises and provide women with professional and personal support.
    Scopus© Citations 1  25
  • Publication
    What do we mean by individual capacity strengthening for primary health care in low- and middle-income countries? A systematic scoping review to improve conceptual clarity
    Background: Capacity strengthening of primary health care workers is widely used as a means to strengthen health service delivery, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Despite the widespread recognition of the importance of capacity strengthening to improve access to quality health care, how the term ‘capacity strengthening’ is both used and measured varies substantially across the literature. This scoping review sought to identify the most common domains of individual capacity strengthening, as well as their most common forms of measurement, to generate a better understanding of what is meant by the term ‘capacity strengthening’ for primary health care workers. Methods: Six electronic databases were searched for studies published between January 2000 and October 2020. A total of 4474 articles were screened at title and abstract phase and 323 full-text articles were reviewed. 55 articles were ultimately identified for inclusion, covering various geographic settings and health topics. Results: Capacity strengthening is predominantly conceptualised in relation to knowledge and skills, as either sole domains of capacity, or used in combination with other domains including self-efficacy, practices, ability, and competencies. Capacity strengthening is primarily measured using pre- and post-tests, practical evaluations, and observation. These occur along study-specific indicators, though some pre-existing, validated tools are also used. Conclusion: The concept of capacity strengthening for primary health care workers reflected across a number of relevant frameworks and theories differs from what is commonly seen in practice. A framework of individual capacity strengthening across intra-personal, inter-personal, and technical domains is proposed, as an initial step towards building a common consensus of individual capacity strengthening for future work.
    Scopus© Citations 10  217
  • Publication
    The role of psychosocial factors in explaining sex differences in major depression and generalized anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic
    Background: Understanding how pandemics differentially impact on the socio-protective and psychological outcomes of males and females is important to develop more equitable public health policies. We assessed whether males and females differed on measures of major depression and generalized anxiety during the COVID-19 the pandemic, and if so, which sociodemographic, pandemic, and psychological variables may affect sex differences in depression and anxiety. Methods: Participants were a nationally representative sample of Irish adults (N = 1,032) assessed between April 30th to May 19th, 2020, during Ireland’s first COVID-19 nationwide quarantine. Participants completed self-report measures of anxiety (GAD-7) and depression (PHQ-9), as well as 23 sociodemographic pandemic-related, and psychological variables. Sex differences on measures of depression and anxiety were assessed using binary logistic regression analysis and differences in sociodemographic, pandemic, and psychological variables assessed using chi-square tests of independence and independent samples t-tests. Results: Females were significantly more likely than males to screen positive for major depressive disorder (30.6% vs. 20.7%; χ2 (1) = 13.26, p < .001, OR = 1.69 [95% CI = 1.27, 2.25]), and generalised anxiety disorder (23.3% vs. 14.4%; χ2 (1) = 13.42, p < .001, OR = 1.81 [95% CI = 1.31, 2.49]). When adjusted for all other sex-varying covariates however, sex was no longer significantly associated with screening positive for depression (AOR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.51, 1.25) or GAD (AOR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.60, 1.57). Conclusion: Observed sex-differences in depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of Ireland are best explained by psychosocial factors of COVID-19 related anxiety, trait neuroticism, lower sleep quality, higher levels of loneliness, greater somatic problems, and, in the case of depression, increases in childcaring responsibilities and lower trait consciousnesses. Implications of these findings for public health policy and interventions are discussed.
      31Scopus© Citations 4