Journal: Rural and remote health
The next influenza pandemic is predicted to disproportionately impact marginalized populations, such as those living in geographically remote Aboriginal communities, and there remains a paucity of scientific literature regarding effective and feasible community mitigation strategies. In Canada, current pandemic plans may not have been developed with adequate First Nations consultation and recommended measures may not be effective in remote and isolated First Nations communities.
There is little knowledge about the use of point-of-care (POC) tests among general practitioners (GPs). The aim of this study was to determine which POC tests are known and used by GPs and how they estimate the usefulness of those tests. The use of POC tests among GPs and university-associated general practitioners who teach undergraduates (GPTUs) was elucidated. Differences between GPs working in urban and rural areas were also investigated.
Evidence shows that the government of Papua New Guinea is failing to provide basic services in health to the majority of its people. Local non-government organisations (NGOs), partnered with international NGOs, are attempting to fill this gap. With limited resources, these small Indigenous organisations must focus much of their effort on training that supports self-reliance as the main strategy for communities to improve their quality of life. This project explored the training content and methodology of Touching The Untouchables (TTU), a small Indigenous NGO based in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, that has trained a network of village volunteers in health promotion and safe motherhood.
Village life imposes multiple demands, from self-sufficiency in food to maintaining law and order. There are established attitudes about power and dependence, referred to as ‘cargo thinking’. Cargo thinking stands as a barrier to the necessity of self-reliance, and requires training strategies that seek to empower participants to create change from their own initiative. Empowerment is understood as oriented towards individual people taking collective action to improve their circumstances by rectifying disparities in social power and control. To achieve self-reliance, empowerment is necessarily operational on the levels of person, community and society.
In addition to being operational on all three levels of empowerment, the training content and methodology adopted and developed by TTU demonstrate that empowering practice in training employs approaches to knowledge that are evidence-based, reflexive, contextual and skill-based. Creating knowledge that is reflexive and exploring knowledge about the broader context uses special kinds of communicative tools that facilitate discussion on history, society and political economy. Furthermore, training methodologies that are oriented to empowerment create settings that require the use of all three types of communication required for cooperative action: dramaturgical, normative and teleological communication.
The success of TTU’s training content and methodology demonstrates that creating the conditions for achieving collective self-reliance through empowerment is a necessary part of primary health promotion in Papua New Guinea, and that underlying the success of empowerment oriented training are definable types of knowledge and communication.
Rural healthcare resource limitations can affect the choices people make and their quality of life during its end stages. In rural regions of Australia, district nurses (DNs) working in generalist community roles provide access to care by visiting people in their homes. They may be well positioned to improve the quality of the end-of-life experience by advocating for choice and person-centred end-of-life goals; however, knowledge about care in this context is limited. Initial findings from an exploratory qualitative study describing how rural DNs are able to successfully advocate for the end-of-life choices and goals of people living at home need to be confirmed and further developed to inform clinical practice. This survey aimed to test and complement the findings from a narrative exploration of how DNs advocate successfully for the end-of-life goals of rural Australians.
Abortion has been legal in the Australian state of Victoria since 2008 and medical termination of pregnancy (MTOP) available since 2012. While these developments were expected to improve Victorian rural women’s access to abortion, this has not been borne out in practice. General practitioners (GPs), particularly in rural areas, are women’s first point of contact when faced with an unintended pregnancy. The objective of this study was to understand rural GPs' knowledge and practice in relation to unintended pregnancy and referral for abortion, using the Grampians region of Victoria as a case study. Parts of this region, like other rural and regional areas, experience teenage pregnancy rates double the national average and more than four times that of major cities, and access to abortion services is known to be limited. Findings from the study will inform rural health service development to improve rural women’s access to abortion.
The need for family physicians in rural areas across the USA and Canada is a longstanding issue that has been well documented. Since family physicians constitute the largest population of rural practitioners, the problem has been exacerbated by a sharp decline in medical students' interest in the field of family medicine and the aging of the current rural workforce. Previous research has shown that female physicians in rural areas need strong support networks to maintain a healthy work-life balance. The purpose of this study was to better understand the types of support they need and how they find it, as well as how their needs change over time.
The allied health workforce is one of the largest workforces in the health industry. It has a critical role in cost-effective, preventative health care, but it is poorly accessible in rural areas worldwide. This review aimed to inform policy and research priorities for increasing access to rural allied health services in Australia by describing the extent, range and nature of evidence about this workforce.
Maternal and neonatal health are core focus areas in fragile and conflict-affected areas, and hence midwives are key actors. But there is currently very little evidence on midwives' experiences, the challenges that they face and coping strategies they employ in the challenging and fragile rural areas of Ituri Province in the north-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This understanding is critical to developing strategies to attract, retain and support midwives to provide vital services to women and their families. This study aims to explore midwives' work experiences and challenges through time from initial professional choice to future career aspiration in rural Ituri Province, north-eastern DRC.
Health professions education in tertiary, industrial and other contexts often entails face-to-face small group learning through tutorials. The current novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has reduced face-to-face contact, and this has challenged how health professionals and clinical students can access training, accreditation and development. Online and other remote mechanisms are available to tutors and course designers; however, they might not feel comfortable with such affordances, in light of expectations to so rapidly change familiar teaching and delivery styles. This may result in the loss of interaction and disruption of peer learning, which are hallmarks of the small group tutorial. Collaborative learning is essential to develop and refine an emerging sense of belonging to a professional community through formal studies, and interactive learning is a requirement for some registered health professions to satisfy ongoing professional accreditation. Online media has been used to promote social learning in regional, rural and remote communities for some time. Strategies for learning activity design and tutor training are proposed to equip course designers and educators to support health professions education remotely, through the synchronous, online small group. This may herald a new era of increased access to training and professional development for non-urban learners, beyond COVID-19.
Professional and tertiary health professions education (HPE) has been markedly challenged by the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Mandates for training organisations to reduce social contact during the global pandemic, and make learning available online, provide an opportunity for regional, rural and remote clinicians and students to more easily access learning and professional development opportunities. Online lectures, while posing an opportunity for regional, rural and remote HPE, entail potential risks. Educators who are familiar with face-to-face pedagogies may find a transition to remote, digital interaction unfamiliar, disarming, and therefore they may not design maximally engaging lectures. The strategies used in a face-to-face lecture cannot be directly transferred into the online environment. This article proposes strategies to ensure the ongoing effectiveness, efficiency and engagement of lectures transitioning from face-to-face to online delivery. Cognitive learning theory, strategies to promote learner engagement and minimise distraction, and examples of software affordances to support active learning during the lecture are proposed. This enables lecturers to navigate the challenges of lecturing in an online environment and plan fruitful online lectures during this disruptive time. These suggestions will therefore enable HPE to better meet the existing and future needs of regional, rural and remote learners who may not be able to easily access face-to-face learning upon the relaxation of social distancing measures. Strategies to provide equitable HPE to learners who cannot access plentiful, fast internet are also discussed.