UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Acceptability and feasibility of community-based provision of urine pregnancy tests to support linkages to reproductive health services in Western Kenya: a qualitative analysis Kibel, Mia; Thorne, Julie; Kerich, Caroline; Naanyu, Violet; Yego, Faith; Christoffersen-Deb, Astrid; Bernard, Caitlin


Background The majority of women living in rural Kenya access antenatal care (ANC) late in pregnancy, and approximately 20% have an unmet need for family planning (FP). This study aimed to determine whether training community health volunteers (CHVs) to deliver urine pregnancy testing (UPT), post-test counselling, and referral to care was an acceptable and feasible intervention to support timely initiation of ANC and uptake of FP. Methods We applied community-based participatory methods to design and implement the pilot intervention between July 2018 and May 2019. We conducted qualitative content analysis of 12 pre-intervention focus group discussions (FGDs) with women, men, and CHVs, and of 4 post-intervention FGDs with CHVs, each with 7–9 participants per FGD group. Using a pragmatic approach, we conducted inductive line-by-line coding to generate themes and subthemes describing factors that positively or negatively contributed to the intervention’s acceptability and feasibility, in terms of participants’ views and the intervention aims. Results We found that CHV-delivered point of care UPT, post-test counselling, and referral to care was an acceptable and feasible intervention to increase uptake of ANC, FP, and other reproductive healthcare services. Factors that contributed to acceptability were: (1) CHV-delivery made UPT more accessible; (2) UPT and counselling supported women and men to build knowledge and make informed choices, although not necessarily for women with unwanted pregnancies interested in abortion; (3) CHVs were generally trusted to provide counselling, and alternative counselling providers were available according to participant preference. A factor that enhanced the feasibility of CHV delivering UPT and counselling was CHV's access to appropriate supplies (e.g. carrying bags). However, factors that detracted from the feasibility of women actually accessing referral services after UPT and counselling included (1) downstream barriers like cost of travel, and (2) some male community members’ negative attitudes toward FP. Finally, improved financial, educational, and professional supports for CHVs would be needed to make the intervention acceptable and feasible in the long-term. Conclusion Training CHVs in rural western Kenya to deliver UPT, post-test counselling, and referral to care was acceptable and feasible to men, women, and CHVs in this context, and may promote early initiation of ANC and uptake of FP. Additional qualitative work is needed to explore implementation challenges, including issues related to unwanted pregnancies and abortion, the financial burden of volunteerism on CHVs, and educational and professional supports for CHVs.

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