Community engagement platforms for Compassionate Respectful and Caring health service: challenges and opportunities, in Sululta district, Ethiopia
Keywords:Community Engagement, CRC, Community Engagement Platforms
Background: While evidences existed on the effectiveness of community engagement (CE) in improving outcomes and quality of health care, little is known about the best available community engagement platforms for Compassionate and Respectful Care (CRC) service improvement.
Objective: To explore CE platforms to improve CRC, the facilitators and barriers to successfully implementing these platforms.
Methods: Implementation research was done using phenomenological study design. An interview guideline was used to collect the data. An audio recorder was used, and field notes were also taken. Twenty Key Informants were interviewed by health experts about CE. Audio records were transcribed, and thematic analysis of the text data was performed using qualitative data analysis software Atlas-ti -v-8.
Results: Six CE platforms were identified. These are: the Community Score Card (CSC), Health Development Army (HDA), community forum, women’s conference, citizens’ charter, and health facilities governance board. The existence of HDA, presence of a conducive cultural environment, the readiness of the community to inform service gaps, the existence of effective facilitators (individuals) to mobilize the community, and the presence of Health Extension Workers (HEWs) within a community were available opportunities explored for effective community engagement. Distortion of the public's perception toward the HDA, lack of explicit structure for CRC, and the limited attention by leadership to engage the community for CRC were some identified barriers that hindered CE for CRC success.
Conclusion: Among the major CE platforms, the CSC and HDA were reported by most of the study participants. The existence of HDA, a conducive cultural environment, and the HEWs embedded within a community were identified facilitators. The public distortion toward the HDA and the limited attention by leadership to engage the community for CRC were among the identified barriers. Therefore, to effectively engage the public for the CRC improvement, it is important to use the CE platforms in a way that convinces the public, develop a clear structure for implementing CE for CRC, and avail finances and other necessary resources for CE implementation.