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Concept: Focus group


The World Health Organization is revising the primary care classification of mental and behavioural disorders for the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11-Primary Health Care (PHC)) aiming to reduce the disease burden associated with mental disorders among member countries.

Concepts: Psychology, Medicine, Public health, Focus group


BACKGROUND: High levels of gender-based violence (GBV) persist among conflict-affected populations and within humanitarian settings and are paralleled by under-reporting and low service utilization. Novel and evidence-based approaches are necessary to change the current state of GBV amongst these populations. We present the findings of qualitative research, which were used to inform the development of a screening tool as one potential strategy to identify and respond to GBV for females in humanitarian settings. METHODS: Qualitative research methods were conducted from January-February 2011 to explore the range of experiences of GBV and barriers to reporting GBV among female refugees. Individual interview participants (n=37) included female refugees (>=15 years), who were survivors of GBV, living in urban or one of three camps settings in Ethiopia, and originating from six conflict countries. Focus group discussion participants (11 groups; 77 participants) included health, protection and community service staff working in the urban or camp settings. Interviews and discussions were conducted in the language of preference, with assistance by interpreters when needed, and transcribed for analysis by grounded-theory technique. RESULTS: Single and multiple counts of GBV were reported and ranged from psychological and social violence; rape, gang rape, sexual coercion, and other sexual violence; abduction; and physical violence. Domestic violence was predominantly reported to occur when participants were living in the host country. Opportunistic violence, often manifested by rape, occurred during transit when women depended on others to reach their destination. Abduction within the host country, and often across borders, highlighted the constant state of vulnerability of refugees. Barriers to reporting included perceived and experienced stigma in health settings and in the wider community, lack of awareness of services, and inability to protect children while mothers sought services. CONCLUSIONS: Findings demonstrate that GBV persists across the span of the refugee experience, though there is a transition in the range of perpetrators and types of GBV that are experienced. Further, survivors experience significant individual and system barriers to disclosure and service utilization. The findings suggest that routine GBV screening by skilled service providers offers a strategy to confidentially identify and refer survivors to needed services within refugee settings, potentially enabling survivors to overcome existing barriers.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Domestic violence, Focus group, Qualitative research, Violence, Quantitative research, Violence against women


BACKGROUND: Dieting has historically been the main behavioural treatment paradigm for overweight/obesity, although a non-dieting paradigm has more recently emerged based on the criticisms of the original dieting approach. There is a dearth of research contrasting why these approaches are adopted. To address this, we conducted a qualitative investigation into the determinants of dieting and non-dieting approaches based on the perspectives and experiences of overweight/obese Australian adults. METHODS: Grounded theory was used inductively to generate a model of themes contrasting the determinants of dieting and non-dieting approaches based on the perspectives of 21 overweight/obese adults. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews to elicit in-depth individual experiences and perspectives. RESULTS: Several categories emerged which distinguished between the adoption of a dieting or non-dieting approach. These categories included the focus of each approach (weight/image or lifestyle/health behaviours); internal or external attributions about dieting failure; attitudes towards established diets, and personal autonomy. Personal autonomy was also influenced by another category; the perceived knowledge and self-efficacy about each approach, with adults more likely to choose an approach they knew more about and were confident in implementing. The time perspective of change (short or long-term) and the perceived identity of the person (fat/dieter or healthy person) also emerged as determinants of dieting or non-dieting approaches respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The model of determinants elicited from this study assists in understanding why dieting and non-dieting approaches are adopted, from the perspectives and experiences of overweight/obese adults. Understanding this decision-making process can assist clinicians and public health researchers to design and tailor dieting and non-dieting interventions to population subgroups that have preferences and characteristics suitable for each approach.

Concepts: Psychology, Focus group, Cognition, Qualitative research, Knowledge, Grounded theory, Perspective, Self-determination


BACKGROUND: The emigration of skilled nurses from the Philippines is an ongoing phenomenon that has impacted the quality and quantity of the nursing workforce, while strengthening the domestic economy through remittances. This study examines how the development of brain drain-responsive policies is driven by the effects of nurse migration and how such efforts aim to achieve mind-shifts among nurses, governing and regulatory bodies, and public and private institutions in the Philippines and worldwide. METHODS: Interviews and focus group discussions were conducted to elicit exploratory perspectives on the policy response to nurse brain drain. Interviews with key informants from the nursing, labour and immigration sectors explored key themes behind the development of policies and programmes that respond to nurse migration. Focus group discussions were held with practising nurses to understand policy recipients' perspectives on nurse migration and policy. RESULTS: Using the qualitative data, a thematic framework was created to conceptualize participants' perceptions of how nurse migration has driven the policy development process. The framework demonstrates that policymakers have recognised the complexity of the brain drain phenomenon and are crafting dynamic policies and programmes that work to shift domestic and global mindsets on nurse training, employment and recruitment. CONCLUSIONS: Development of responsive policy to Filipino nurse brain drain offers a glimpse into a domestic response to an increasingly prominent global issue. As a major source of professionals migrating abroad for employment, the Philippines has formalised efforts to manage nurse migration. Accordingly, the Philippine paradigm, summarised by the thematic framework presented in this paper, may act as an example for other countries that are experiencing similar shifts in healthcare worker employment due to migration.

Concepts: Psychology, Focus group, Qualitative research, Immigration, Human migration, Philippines, Policy, Nurse


The concepts of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are both of vital importance in medicine and health sciences. However, the meaning of these concepts has seldom been discussed in the medical literature. The aim of this study was to explore what the concepts of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ meant for gender researchers based in a medical faculty.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health, Focus group, Meaning of life, Health science, Latin, Art


BACKGROUND: Antenatal care (ANC) is a key strategy to improve maternal and infant health. However, survey data from sub-Saharan Africa indicate that women often only initiate ANC after the first trimester and do not achieve the recommended number of ANC visits. Drawing on qualitative data, this article comparatively explores the factors that influence ANC attendance across four sub-Saharan African sites in three countries (Ghana, Kenya and Malawi) with varying levels of ANC attendance. METHODS: Data were collected as part of a programme of qualitative research investigating the social and cultural context of malaria in pregnancy. A range of methods was employed interviews, focus groups with diverse respondents and observations in local communities and health facilities. RESULTS: Across the sites, women attended ANC at least once. However, their descriptions of ANC were often vague. General ideas about pregnancy care - checking the foetus' position or monitoring its progress - motivated women to attend ANC; as did, especially in Kenya, obtaining the ANC card to avoid reprimands from health workers. Women’s timing of ANC initiation was influenced by reproductive concerns and pregnancy uncertainties, particularly during the first trimester, and how ANC services responded to this uncertainty; age, parity and the associated implications for pregnancy disclosure; interactions with healthcare workers, particularly messages about timing of ANC; and the cost of ANC, including charges levied for ANC procedures - in spite of policies of free ANC - combined with ideas about the compulsory nature of follow-up appointments. CONCLUSION: In these socially and culturally diverse sites, the findings suggest that ‘supply’ side factors have an important influence on ANC attendance: the design of ANC and particularly how ANC deals with the needs and concerns of women during the first trimester has implications for timing of initiation.

Concepts: Health care, Pregnancy, Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Focus group, Ethiopia, Qualitative research, Malawi


This mixed-methods study examined barriers to and facilitators of street children’s drug use cessation in Eldoret, Kenya utilizing a cross-sectional survey and focus group discussions with a community-based sample of street-involved children and youth. The primary objective of this study was to describe factors that may assist or impede cessation of drug use that can be utilized in developing substance use interventions for this marginalized population. In 2011, 146 children and youth ages 10-19 years, classified as either children on the street or children of the street were recruited to participate in the cross-sectional survey. Of the 146 children that participated in the survey 40 were invited to participate in focus group discussion; 30 returned voluntarily to participate in the discussions. Several themes were derived from children’s narratives that described the barriers to and facilitators of drug cessation. Specifically, our findings reveal the strength of the addiction to inhalants, the dual role that peers and family play in substance use, and how the social, cultural, and economic context influence or impede cessation. Our findings demonstrate the need to integrate community, family and peers into any intervention in addition to traditional medical and psychological models for treatment of substance use dependence.

Concepts: Psychology, Focus group, Cross-sectional study, Drug addiction, Addiction, Youth, Focus, Substance abuse


OBJECTIVE: To explore ways of controlling Chrysomya putoria, the African latrine fly, in pit latrines. As pit latrines are a major source of these flies, eliminating these important breeding sites is likely to reduce village fly populations, and may reduce the spread of diarrhoeal pathogens. METHODS: We treated 24 latrines in a Gambian village: six each with (i) pyriproxyfen, an insect juvenile hormone mimic formulated as Sumilarv(®) 0.5G, a 0.5% pyriproxyfen granule, (ii) expanded polystyrene beads (EPB), (iii) local soap or (iv) no treatment as controls. Flies were collected using exit traps placed over the drop holes, weekly for five weeks. In a separate study, we tested whether latrines also function as efficient flytraps using the faecal odours as attractants. We constructed six pit latrines each with a built-in flytrap and tested their catching efficiency compared to six fish-baited box traps positioned 10 m from the latrine. Focus group discussions conducted afterwards assessed the acceptability of the flytrap latrines. RESULTS: Numbers of emerging C. putoria were reduced by 96.0% (95% CIs: 94.5-97.2%) 4-5 weeks after treatment with pyriproxyfen; by 64.2% (95% CIs: 51.8-73.5%) after treatment with local soap; by 41.3% (95% CIs = 24.0-54.7%) after treatment with EPB 3-5 weeks after treatment. Flytraps placed on latrines collected C. putoria and were deemed acceptable to local communities. CONCLUSIONS: Sumilarv 0.5G shows promise as a chemical control agent, whilst odour-baited latrine traps may prove a useful method of non-chemical fly control. Both methods warrant further development to reduce fly production from pit latrines. A combination of interventions may prove effective for the control of latrine flies and the diseases they transmit.

Concepts: Focus group, Insect, Polystyrene, Flies, Latrine, The Gambia, Pit toilet, Outhouse


BACKGROUND: Significant racial disparities exist in the US unplanned pregnancy rate. We conducted a qualitative study using the theory of planned behavior as a framework to describe how low-income, African-American women approach family planning. STUDY DESIGN: Structured focus groups were held with adult, low-income, nonpregnant, African-American women in Connecticut. Data were collected using a standardized discussion guide, audio-taped and transcribed. Four independent researchers coded the transcripts using the constant comparative method. Codes were organized into overarching themes. RESULTS: Contraceptive knowledge was limited, with formal contraceptive education often occurring after sexual debut. Attitudes about contraception were overtly negative, with method effectiveness being judged by the presence of side effects. Family and friends strongly influence contraceptive decisions, while male partners are primarily seen as a barrier. Contraceptive pills are perceived as readily accessible, although compliance is considered a barrier. CONCLUSIONS: Contraception education should occur before sexual debut, should involve trusted family and community members and should positively frame issues in terms of achieving life goals.

Concepts: Scientific method, Pregnancy, Sexual intercourse, Family planning, Focus group, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Abortion, Qualitative research


Refugees and internally displaced persons who are affected by armed-conflict are at increased vulnerability to some forms of sexual violence or other types of gender-based violence. A validated, brief and easy-to-administer screening tool will help service providers identify GBV survivors and refer them to appropriate GBV services. To date, no such GBV screening tool exists. We developed the 7-item ASIST-GBV screening tool from qualitative research that included individual interviews and focus groups with GBV refugee and IDP survivors. This study presents the psychometric properties of the ASIST-GBV with female refugees living in Ethiopia and IDPs in Colombia.

Concepts: Focus group, Colombia, Internally displaced person, Refugee, Violence against women, Displaced person, Darfur, Forced migration