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Malar J. 2018 Apr 2;17(1):132. doi: 10.1186/s12936-018-2292-7.

'Researchers have love for life': opportunities and barriers to engage pregnant women in malaria research in post-Ebola Liberia.

Author information

1
ISGlobal, Hospital Clínic - Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. gmartinezgabas@gmail.com.
2
Saint Joseph's Catholic Hospital, Tubman Boulevard, Oldest Congo Town, PO Box 10-512, 1100, Monrovia, Liberia. gmartinezgabas@gmail.com.
3
Saint Joseph's Catholic Hospital, Tubman Boulevard, Oldest Congo Town, PO Box 10-512, 1100, Monrovia, Liberia.
4
ISGlobal, Hospital Clínic - Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
5
NGO Juan Ciudad Foundation, Madrid, Spain.
6
ICREA, Pg. Lluís Companys 23, 08010, Barcelona, Spain.
7
Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça (CISM), Maputo, Mozambique.
8
Pediatric Infectious Diseases Unit, Pediatrics Department, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Adoption of prevention and therapeutic innovations to ensure that National Malaria Control Programmes meet their incidence reduction targets is highly dependent on the conduct of rigorous clinical trials. In Liberia, malaria control virtually halted during the recent Ebola epidemic, and could enormously benefit from innovations to protect its most vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, against malaria. Health policy-planners could feel more inclined to adopt novel interventions with demonstrated safety and efficacy when trialled among their women population. However, pregnant women are especially vulnerable when targeted as research participants. Whilst some studies in the region attempted to understand the ethical issues around the conduct of clinical research, there is need of such information from Liberia to inform future malaria research.

METHODS:

This is a grounded theory study that aims to understand the barriers and opportunities for pregnant women to consent to participate in malaria research in Liberia. The study was conducted between November 2016 and May 2017 at the St Joseph's Catholic Hospital, Monrovia. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were held with hospital staff, traditional community representatives, and pregnant women.

RESULTS:

According to the participants, useful strategies to motivate pregnant women to consent to participate in malaria research could be providing evidence-based education on malaria and research to the general population and encouraging engagement of traditional leaders in research design and community mobilization. Fears and suspicions towards research and researchers, which were amplified during the conduct of Ebola vaccine and drug clinical trials, may influence women's acceptance and willingness to engage in malaria research. Population's mistrust in the public healthcare system might hinder their acceptance of research, undermining the probability of their benefiting from any improved malaria control intervention.

CONCLUSION:

Benchmarking for acceptable practices from previous public health interventions; building community discussion and dissemination platforms; and mapping communication and information errors from how previous research interventions were explained to the Liberian population, are strategies that might help ensure a safe and fully informed participation of pregnant women in malaria research. Inequity issues impeding access and use of biomedical care for women must be tackled urgently.

KEYWORDS:

Access to healthcare; Liberia; Malaria; Pregnant women; Prevention; Qualitative research

PMID:
29606141
PMCID:
PMC5880008
DOI:
10.1186/s12936-018-2292-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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