Vol. 1, Issue 1 (2016)
Strengthening health service delivery to stroke survivors in the community: A case of an African community
Author(s): Miriam Mapulanga, Mukadas Akindele, George Chigali, Selestine Nzala
Abstract: Health service delivery for stroke survivors has been a challenge in most African countries due to the chronic nature of the stroke and weak health systems. Studies indicates that community dwelling stroke survivors are unable to regain a good quality of life after experiencing a stroke, they are unable to socially integrate and there are a lot strains within close family support networks. This study set out to explore methods of strengthening service delivery to stroke survivors in the African community from the health workers and caregivers’ perspective. An exploratory study, employed a focus group discussion to collect the data was employed to achieve the study objective. The study was conducted in a community of Livingstone District in Southern Province of Zambia, Southern Africa. A focus group discussion consisting of 17 participants involving caregivers and health workers was done using a discussion guide which was developed by the authors to collect information needed. A combined focus group discussion was done involving 10 caregivers and 7 health workers all drawn from the Livingstone community. Themes and categories were transcribed from audiotape recording verbatim by an independent consultant. The study found that the stroke survivors had challenges in accessing health services as they were more at institutional level. The availability and affordability of the health services was another challenge. The patients alluded to challenges in transport, paying of user fees, and distance from the health facility, lack of information on strokes and stroke prevention as well as the non-availability of well-informed and skilled community support services. In order to strengthen the health systems in Africa, there is need to have well-coordinated stroke health services that link institutions to the community. Well-informed and skilled community support services are a must and must be driven by the community themselves. Constant technical supports from the health providers need to be established to strengthening the health systems.
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