Initiating a participatory action research process in the Agincourt health and socio–demographic surveillance site

Oghenebrume Wariri, Lucia D'Ambruoso, Rhian Twine, Sizzy Ngobeni, Maria Van Der Merwe, Barry Spies, Kathleen Kahn, Stephen Tollman, Ryan G Wagner, Peter Byass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background

Despite progressive health policy, disease burdens in South Africa remain patterned by deeply entrenched social inequalities. Accounting for the relationships between context, health and risk can provide important information for equitable service delivery. The aims of the research were to initiate a participatory research process with communities in a low income setting and produce evidence of practical relevance.

Methods

We initiated a participatory action research (PAR) process in the Agincourt health and socio–demographic surveillance site (HDSS) in rural north–east South Africa. Three village–based discussion groups were convened and consulted about conditions to examine, one of which was under–5 mortality. A series of discussions followed in which routine HDSS data were presented and participants' subjective perspectives were elicited and systematized into collective forms of knowledge using ranking, diagramming and participatory photography. The process concluded with a priority setting exercise. Visual and narrative data were thematically analyzed to complement the participants' analysis.

Results

A range of social and structural root causes of under–5 mortality were identified: poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing, unsafe environments and shortages of clean water. Despite these constraints, single mothers were often viewed as negligent. A series of mid–level contributory factors in clinics were also identified: overcrowding, poor staffing, delays in treatment and shortages of medications. In a similar sense, pronounced blame and negativity were directed toward clinic nurses in spite of the systems constraints identified. Actions to address these issues were prioritized as: expanding clinics, improving accountability and responsiveness of health workers, improving employment, providing clean water, and expanding community engagement for health promotion.

Conclusions

We initiated a PAR process to gain local knowledge and prioritize actions. The process was acceptable to those involved, and there was willingness and commitment to continue. The study provided a basis from which to gain support to develop fuller forms of participatory research in this setting. The next steps are to build deeper involvement of participants in the process, expand to include the perspectives of those most marginalized, and engage in the health system at different levels to move toward an ongoing process of action and learning from action.
Original languageEnglish
Article number010413
JournalJournal of Global Health
Volume7
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

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Health Services Research
Health
South Africa
Research
Unemployment
Information Services
Mortality
Water
Photography
Social Responsibility
Poverty
Health Policy
Health Promotion
Nurses
Mothers
Learning
Exercise

Cite this

Initiating a participatory action research process in the Agincourt health and socio–demographic surveillance site. / Wariri, Oghenebrume ; D'Ambruoso, Lucia; Twine, Rhian; Ngobeni, Sizzy; Van Der Merwe, Maria; Spies, Barry; Kahn, Kathleen ; Tollman, Stephen; Wagner, Ryan G ; Byass, Peter.

In: Journal of Global Health, Vol. 7, No. 1, 010413, 06.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wariri, O, D'Ambruoso, L, Twine, R, Ngobeni, S, Van Der Merwe, M, Spies, B, Kahn, K, Tollman, S, Wagner, RG & Byass, P 2017, 'Initiating a participatory action research process in the Agincourt health and socio–demographic surveillance site', Journal of Global Health, vol. 7, no. 1, 010413. https://doi.org/10.7189/jogh.07.010413
Wariri, Oghenebrume ; D'Ambruoso, Lucia ; Twine, Rhian ; Ngobeni, Sizzy ; Van Der Merwe, Maria ; Spies, Barry ; Kahn, Kathleen ; Tollman, Stephen ; Wagner, Ryan G ; Byass, Peter. / Initiating a participatory action research process in the Agincourt health and socio–demographic surveillance site. In: Journal of Global Health. 2017 ; Vol. 7, No. 1.
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abstract = "BackgroundDespite progressive health policy, disease burdens in South Africa remain patterned by deeply entrenched social inequalities. Accounting for the relationships between context, health and risk can provide important information for equitable service delivery. The aims of the research were to initiate a participatory research process with communities in a low income setting and produce evidence of practical relevance.MethodsWe initiated a participatory action research (PAR) process in the Agincourt health and socio–demographic surveillance site (HDSS) in rural north–east South Africa. Three village–based discussion groups were convened and consulted about conditions to examine, one of which was under–5 mortality. A series of discussions followed in which routine HDSS data were presented and participants' subjective perspectives were elicited and systematized into collective forms of knowledge using ranking, diagramming and participatory photography. The process concluded with a priority setting exercise. Visual and narrative data were thematically analyzed to complement the participants' analysis.ResultsA range of social and structural root causes of under–5 mortality were identified: poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing, unsafe environments and shortages of clean water. Despite these constraints, single mothers were often viewed as negligent. A series of mid–level contributory factors in clinics were also identified: overcrowding, poor staffing, delays in treatment and shortages of medications. In a similar sense, pronounced blame and negativity were directed toward clinic nurses in spite of the systems constraints identified. Actions to address these issues were prioritized as: expanding clinics, improving accountability and responsiveness of health workers, improving employment, providing clean water, and expanding community engagement for health promotion.ConclusionsWe initiated a PAR process to gain local knowledge and prioritize actions. The process was acceptable to those involved, and there was willingness and commitment to continue. The study provided a basis from which to gain support to develop fuller forms of participatory research in this setting. The next steps are to build deeper involvement of participants in the process, expand to include the perspectives of those most marginalized, and engage in the health system at different levels to move toward an ongoing process of action and learning from action.",
author = "Oghenebrume Wariri and Lucia D'Ambruoso and Rhian Twine and Sizzy Ngobeni and {Van Der Merwe}, Maria and Barry Spies and Kathleen Kahn and Stephen Tollman and Wagner, {Ryan G} and Peter Byass",
note = "Financial disclosure Funding: The research presented in this paper is funded by a Development Grant as part of the Health Systems Research Initiative from Department for International Development (DFID)/Medical Research Council (MRC)/Wellcome Trust/Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (MR/N005597/1). The fieldwork was completed with the Ume{\aa} Centre for Global Health Research, with support from FORTE: Swedish Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (grant No. 2006–1512). The School of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand, the South African Medical Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust, UK support the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit and Agincourt HDSS (Grants 058893/Z/99/A; 069683/Z/02/Z; 085477/Z/08/Z; 085477/B/08/Z). OW is a recipient of an MSc Chevening Scholarship, the UK government's global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organizations (Chevening Ref.: NGCV–2015–1194).",
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AU - Wariri, Oghenebrume

AU - D'Ambruoso, Lucia

AU - Twine, Rhian

AU - Ngobeni, Sizzy

AU - Van Der Merwe, Maria

AU - Spies, Barry

AU - Kahn, Kathleen

AU - Tollman, Stephen

AU - Wagner, Ryan G

AU - Byass, Peter

N1 - Financial disclosure Funding: The research presented in this paper is funded by a Development Grant as part of the Health Systems Research Initiative from Department for International Development (DFID)/Medical Research Council (MRC)/Wellcome Trust/Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (MR/N005597/1). The fieldwork was completed with the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, with support from FORTE: Swedish Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (grant No. 2006–1512). The School of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand, the South African Medical Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust, UK support the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit and Agincourt HDSS (Grants 058893/Z/99/A; 069683/Z/02/Z; 085477/Z/08/Z; 085477/B/08/Z). OW is a recipient of an MSc Chevening Scholarship, the UK government's global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organizations (Chevening Ref.: NGCV–2015–1194).

PY - 2017/6

Y1 - 2017/6

N2 - BackgroundDespite progressive health policy, disease burdens in South Africa remain patterned by deeply entrenched social inequalities. Accounting for the relationships between context, health and risk can provide important information for equitable service delivery. The aims of the research were to initiate a participatory research process with communities in a low income setting and produce evidence of practical relevance.MethodsWe initiated a participatory action research (PAR) process in the Agincourt health and socio–demographic surveillance site (HDSS) in rural north–east South Africa. Three village–based discussion groups were convened and consulted about conditions to examine, one of which was under–5 mortality. A series of discussions followed in which routine HDSS data were presented and participants' subjective perspectives were elicited and systematized into collective forms of knowledge using ranking, diagramming and participatory photography. The process concluded with a priority setting exercise. Visual and narrative data were thematically analyzed to complement the participants' analysis.ResultsA range of social and structural root causes of under–5 mortality were identified: poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing, unsafe environments and shortages of clean water. Despite these constraints, single mothers were often viewed as negligent. A series of mid–level contributory factors in clinics were also identified: overcrowding, poor staffing, delays in treatment and shortages of medications. In a similar sense, pronounced blame and negativity were directed toward clinic nurses in spite of the systems constraints identified. Actions to address these issues were prioritized as: expanding clinics, improving accountability and responsiveness of health workers, improving employment, providing clean water, and expanding community engagement for health promotion.ConclusionsWe initiated a PAR process to gain local knowledge and prioritize actions. The process was acceptable to those involved, and there was willingness and commitment to continue. The study provided a basis from which to gain support to develop fuller forms of participatory research in this setting. The next steps are to build deeper involvement of participants in the process, expand to include the perspectives of those most marginalized, and engage in the health system at different levels to move toward an ongoing process of action and learning from action.

AB - BackgroundDespite progressive health policy, disease burdens in South Africa remain patterned by deeply entrenched social inequalities. Accounting for the relationships between context, health and risk can provide important information for equitable service delivery. The aims of the research were to initiate a participatory research process with communities in a low income setting and produce evidence of practical relevance.MethodsWe initiated a participatory action research (PAR) process in the Agincourt health and socio–demographic surveillance site (HDSS) in rural north–east South Africa. Three village–based discussion groups were convened and consulted about conditions to examine, one of which was under–5 mortality. A series of discussions followed in which routine HDSS data were presented and participants' subjective perspectives were elicited and systematized into collective forms of knowledge using ranking, diagramming and participatory photography. The process concluded with a priority setting exercise. Visual and narrative data were thematically analyzed to complement the participants' analysis.ResultsA range of social and structural root causes of under–5 mortality were identified: poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing, unsafe environments and shortages of clean water. Despite these constraints, single mothers were often viewed as negligent. A series of mid–level contributory factors in clinics were also identified: overcrowding, poor staffing, delays in treatment and shortages of medications. In a similar sense, pronounced blame and negativity were directed toward clinic nurses in spite of the systems constraints identified. Actions to address these issues were prioritized as: expanding clinics, improving accountability and responsiveness of health workers, improving employment, providing clean water, and expanding community engagement for health promotion.ConclusionsWe initiated a PAR process to gain local knowledge and prioritize actions. The process was acceptable to those involved, and there was willingness and commitment to continue. The study provided a basis from which to gain support to develop fuller forms of participatory research in this setting. The next steps are to build deeper involvement of participants in the process, expand to include the perspectives of those most marginalized, and engage in the health system at different levels to move toward an ongoing process of action and learning from action.

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DO - 10.7189/jogh.07.010413

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