Equitable health services

‘You must carry your wheelchair’ – barriers to accessing healthcare in a South African rural area
Vergunst R; Swartz L; Mji G; MacLachlan M; Mannan H: Global Health Action 8(1); http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/gha.v8.29003, 2017

There is international evidence that people with disabilities face barriers when accessing primary healthcare services and that there is inadequate information about effective interventions that work to improve the lives of people with disabilities, especially in low-income and middle-income countries. Poor rural residents generally experience barriers to accessing primary healthcare, and these problems are further exacerbated for people with disabilities. This study explored the challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing healthcare in Madwaleni, a poor rural Xhosa community in South Africa. Purposive sampling was done with 26 participants, using semi-structured interviews and content analysis to identify major themes. The study showed a number of barriers to healthcare for people with disabilities. These included practical barriers, including geographical and staffing issues, and attitudinal barriers.

“I cry every day and night, I have my son tied in chains”: physical restraint of people with schizophrenia in community settings in Ethiopia
Asher L; Fekadu A; Teferra S; De Silva M; Pathare S; Hanlon C: Globalisation and Health 13(47), doi: 10.1186/s12992-017-0273-1, 2017

A primary rationale for scaling up mental health services in low and middle-income countries is to address human rights violations, including physical restraint in community settings. The voices of those with intimate experiences of restraint, in particular people with mensystetal illness and their families, are rarely heard. This study aimed to understand the experiences of, and reasons for, restraint of people with schizophrenia in community settings in rural Ethiopia in order to develop constructive and scalable interventions. A qualitative study was conducted, involving 15 in-depth interviews and 5 focus group discussions with a purposive sample of people with schizophrenia, their caregivers, community leaders and primary and community health workers in rural Ethiopia. Most of the participants with schizophrenia and their caregivers had personal experience of the practice of restraint. The main explanations given for restraint were to protect the individual or the community, and to facilitate transportation to health facilities. These reasons were underpinned by a lack of care options, and the consequent heavy family burden and a sense of powerlessness amongst caregivers. Whilst there was pervasive stigma towards people with schizophrenia, lack of awareness about mental illness was not a primary reason for restraint. All types of participants cited increasing access to treatment as the most effective way to reduce the incidence of restraint. Restraint in community settings in rural Ethiopia entails the violation of various human rights, but the underlying human rights issue is one of lack of access to treatment, calling for the scale up of accessible and affordable mental health care.

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