Integration of routine vaccination and other maternal and child health services is becoming more common and the services being integrated more diverse. Yet knowledge gaps remain regarding community members and health workers acceptance, priorities, and concerns related to integration.
Qualitative health worker interviews and community focus groups were conducted in 4 African countries (Kenya, Mali, Ethiopia, and Cameroon).
Integration was generally well accepted by both community members and health workers. Most integrated services were perceived positively by the communities, although perceptions around socially sensitive services (eg, family planning and human immunodeficiency virus) differed by country. Integration benefits reported by both community members and health workers across countries included opportunity to receive multiple services at one visit, time and transportation cost savings, increased service utilization, maximized health worker efficiency, and reduced reporting requirements. Concerns related to integration included being labor intensive, inadequate staff to implement, inadequately trained staff, in addition to a number of more broad health system issues (eg, stockouts, wait times).
Communities generally supported integration, and integrated services may have the potential to increase service utilization and possibly even reduce the stigma of certain services. Some concerns expressed related to health system issues rather than integration, per se, and should be addressed as part of a wider approach to improve health services. Improved planning and patient flow and increasing the number and training of health staff may help to mitigate logistical challenges of integrating services.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 03/2012; 205 Suppl 1:S49-55. DOI:10.1093/infdis/jir796 · 5.78 Impact Factor