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Int J Qual Health Care. 2011 Jun;23(3):222-30. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzr013. Epub 2011 Apr 4.

Access and quality of rural healthcare: Ethiopian Millennium Rural Initiative.

Author information

  • 1Yale School of Public Health, PO BOX 208034, New Haven, CT 06520-8034, USA. elizabeth.bradley@yale.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

More than half the world's population lives in rural areas; however, we have limited evidence about how to strengthen rural healthcare services. We sought to determine the impact of a systems-based approach to improving rural care, the Ethiopian Millennium Rural Initiative, on key healthcare services indicators.

DESIGN:

We conducted an 18-month longitudinal mixed methods study of the 10 primary healthcare units (PHCUs) serving ~400,000 people, using monthly indicator tracking and focus groups.

SETTING:

Rural Ethiopia.

PARTICIPANTS:

Ten PHCUs and 140 focus group participants.

INTERVENTION:

The Ethiopian Millennium Rural Initiative.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Antenatal care coverage, skilled birth attendant rates, HIV testing in antenatal care, HIV testing in the health center or at health posts overall, outpatient volume at the health center. Qualitative data assessed community members' perceptions of healthcare services.

RESULTS:

We found significant increases (P-values of <0.05) in antenatal care coverage, skilled birth attendant rates, HIV testing in antenatal care and HIV testing at health center and health post levels. Outpatient visit rates also improved, but the change was not significant. Focus group data suggested that communities recognized substantial improvements but also voiced continued unmet needs.

CONCLUSIONS:

A systems-based approach to strengthening rural healthcare units is feasible, although complex, particularly in rural settings. The combined use of quantitative and qualitative data is needed to provide a comprehensive view of impact. Future research is needed to understand the determinants of variation in improvement across health centers and regions.

PMID:
21467077
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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