Sara Van Belle

Sara Van Belle
Institute of Tropical Medicine | ITM · Department of Public Health

BA MA MA DLSHTM PHD

About

116
Publications
39,840
Reads
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1,851
Citations
Citations since 2016
94 Research Items
1625 Citations
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Additional affiliations
September 2014 - present
University of Antwerp
Position
  • Post doctoral research fellow (freelance)
July 2012 - February 2013
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Position
  • Lecturer
July 2012 - February 2013
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Position
  • Lecturer

Publications

Publications (116)
Article
The Ministry or Department of Health (M/DoH) is the mandated government agency for health in all countries. However, achieving good health and wellbeing requires the health sector to coordinate with other sectors such as the environment, agriculture, and education. Little is known about the coordination relationship between MOH and other sectors to...
Article
Full-text available
Health Facility Assessments (HFAs) assessing facilities’ readiness to provide services are well-established. However, HFA questionnaires are typically quantitative and lack depth to understand systems in which health facilities operate—crucial to designing context-oriented interventions. We report lessons from a multiple embedded case study explori...
Article
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HIV positive key population (KP) often face health system and social barriers to HIV care. KP include sex workers, men who have sex with men, persons who inject drugs, transgender people, and people in prisons and other closed settings. Community-based ART service delivery (CBART) has the potential to increase access to antiretroviral treatment (AR...
Article
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Realist evaluation (RE) is a theory-driven evaluation approach inspired by scientific realism. It has become increasingly popular in the field of global health where it is often applied in low- and middle-income countries. This makes it timely to discuss RE's relationship to the emerging decolonisation of global health movement. In this short persp...
Article
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Background Patient rights aim to protect the dignity of healthcare-seeking individuals. Realisation of these rights is predicated on effective grievance redressal for the victims of patient rights violations. Methods We used a critical case (that yields the most information) of patient rights violations reported in Karnataka state (South India) to...
Poster
Full-text available
Ce poster présente les principaux résultats de l'expérience d'intégration de la santé mentale dans les services de soins de santé primaires menée dans le district sanitaire de Lubero, en RD Congo, entre 2011 et 2015.
Article
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Introduction Coordination across policy domains and among government agencies is considered critical for addressing complex challenges such as inequities, urbanisation and climate change. However, the factors influencing coordination among government entities in low-income and middle-income countries are not well known. Although theory building is...
Article
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Introduction Interest in multisectoral policies has increased, particularly in the context of low-income and middle-income countries and efforts towards Sustainable Development Goals, with greater attention to understand effective strategies for implementation and governance. The study aimed to explore and map the composition and structure of a mul...
Article
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Background Key populations (KP) are disproportionately infected with HIV and experience barriers to HIV care. KP include men who have sex with men (MSM), female sex workers (FSW), persons who inject drugs (PWID) and transgender people (TG). We implemented three different approaches to the delivery of community-based antiretroviral therapy for KP (K...
Article
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Background: Accountability for maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) is a collaborative endeavour and documenting collaboration dynamics may be key to understanding variations in the performance of MNCH services. This study explored the dynamics of collaboration among frontline health professionals participating in two MNCH coordination struct...
Article
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Background In Morocco’s health systems, reforms were accompanied by increased tensions among doctors, nurses and health managers, poor interprofessional collaboration and counterproductive power struggles. However, little attention has focused on the processes underlying these interprofessional conflicts and their nature. Here, we explored the pers...
Article
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Background: The development and implementation of health policy have become more overt in the era of Sustainable Development Goals, with expectations for greater inclusivity and comprehensiveness in addressing health holistically. Such challenges are more marked in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where policy contexts, actor interests an...
Article
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Background: Globally, health systems have been struggling to cope with the increasing burden of chronic diseases and respond to associated patient needs. Integrated care (IC) for chronic diseases offers solutions, but implementing these new models requires multi-stakeholder action and integrated policies to address social, organisational, and fina...
Article
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Integration of mental health in health care services in the Democratic Republic of Congo Objective: The study aims to document the experience of integrating a mental health care package into the general health care system of Lubero district in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 2011 and 2015, and more specifically, the effects of this i...
Article
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Realist evaluation is making inroads in the field of health policy and systems research to a large extent because of its good fit with complex issues. Until now, most realist studies focused on evaluating interventions or projects related to health care delivery, organization of health services, education, management, and leadership of health worke...
Article
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Objective To assess the functioning of maternal, perinatal, neonatal and child death surveillance and response (DSR) mechanisms at a health district level. Design A framework of elements covering analysis of causes of death, and processes of review and response was developed and applied to the smallest unit of coordination (subdistrict) to evaluat...
Article
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Intersectoral action (ISA) is considered pivotal for achieving health and societal goals but remains difficult to achieve as it requires complex efforts, resources and coordinated responses from multiple sectors and organizations. While ISA in health is often desired, its potential can be better informed by the advanced theory-building and empirica...
Article
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Introduction Substantial disparities in care outcomes exist between different subgroups of adolescents and youths living with HIV (AYLHIV). Understanding variation in individual and health facility characteristics could be key to identifying targets for interventions to reduce these disparities. We modelled variation in AYLHIV retention in care and...
Article
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Introduction: Interprofessional interaction is intrinsic to health service delivery and forms the basis of task-shifting and task-sharing policies to address human resources for health challenges. But while interprofessional interaction can be collaborative, professional hierarchies and discipline-specific patterns of socialisation can result in u...
Article
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Objective: Public primary health care and district health systems play important roles in expanding healthcare access and promoting equity. This study explored and described accountability for this mandate as perceived and experienced by frontline health managers and providers involved in delivering maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) servic...
Article
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Background Governments and international organisations are focused on COVID-19 crisis decision-making. As a result, global and national health governance contexts are changing dramatically, as are the social and political determinants of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Various gender dimensions of the pandemic are clear. While ini...
Preprint
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Objective This study explored and described accountability as perceived and experienced by frontline health managers and providers of maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) services in a South African health district. Methods This was a qualitative study involving in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of 58 frontline health managers and pr...
Article
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Global and national accountability for maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) is increasingly invoked as central to addressing preventable mortality and morbidity. Strategies of accountability for MNCH include policy and budget tracking, maternal and perinatal death surveillance, performance targets and various forms of social accountability. Ho...
Article
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To improve access to maternal health services, Benin introduced in 2009 a user fee exemption policy for caesarean sections. Similar to other low- and middle-income countries, its implementation showed mixed results. Our study aimed at understanding why and in which circumstances the implementation of this policy in hospitals succeeded or failed. We...
Article
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Realist evaluation submits that theories and models of how, why, for whom and under what circumstances programs work could be formulated by conceptualizing the relational links between the context within which programs are implemented, the generative mechanisms the programs trigger, and the outcomes of interest. Qualitative and quantitative data co...
Technical Report
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Part of the Technical series on primary health care on the occasion of the Global Conference on Primary Health Care, Astana, Kazakhstan. October 2018. World Health Organization. (‎2018)‎. Primary health care and health emergencies. World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/328105. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO
Article
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Background: An estimated 7.9 million people were living with HIV in South Africa in 2017, with 63.3% of them remaining in antiretroviral therapy (ART) care and 62.9% accessing ART. Poor retention in care and suboptimal adherence to ART undermine the successful efforts of initiating people living with HIV on ART. To address these challenges, the ant...
Article
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Global strategies and commitments for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) underscore the need to strengthen rights-based accountability processes. Yet there are gaps between these ambitious SRHR rights frameworks and the constrained socio-political lived realities within which these frameworks are implemented. This paper addresses thes...
Article
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Lehoux and colleagues plea for a health systems perspective to evaluate innovations. Since many innovations and their scale-up strategies emerge from processes that are not (centrally) steered, we plea for any assessment with a dynamic, instead of a sequential, approach. We provide further guidance on how to adopt such dynamic approach, in order to...
Article
In this article, I set out to capture the dynamics of two streams within the field of global health research: realist research and medical anthropology. I critically discuss the development of methodology and practice in realist health research in low- and middle-income countries against the background of anthropological practice in global health t...
Article
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Background Although empirical evidence suggests that the adherence club model is more effective in retaining people living with HIV in antiretroviral treatment care and sustaining medication adherence compared to standard clinic care, it is poorly understood exactly how and why this works. In this paper, we examined and made explicit how, why and f...
Data
Interview guide–health care providers. (DOCX)
Technical Report
Full-text available
Technical brief for The Global Conference on Primary Health Care (PHC), 25-26 October 2018, Astana, Kazachstan. Organised by WHO, Ministery of Healthcare, republic of Kazachstan and UNICEF. The technical paper explains why a PHC-approach preparing for and during emergencies is crucial for health systems functioning, Global Health Security and Unive...
Data
S1_-_Observation_guide – Supplemental material for “Patients Are Not Following the [Adherence] Club Rules Anymore”: A Realist Case Study of the Antiretroviral Treatment Adherence Club, South Africa
Data
S2_-_Interview_guide-clinicians – Supplemental material for “Patients Are Not Following the [Adherence] Club Rules Anymore”: A Realist Case Study of the Antiretroviral Treatment Adherence Club, South Africa
Data
S3_-_Interview_guide-patients – Supplemental material for “Patients Are Not Following the [Adherence] Club Rules Anymore”: A Realist Case Study of the Antiretroviral Treatment Adherence Club, South Africa
Article
Full-text available
There is growing evidence that differentiated care models employed to manage treatment-experienced patients on antiretroviral therapy could improve adherence to medication and retention in care. We conducted a realist evaluation to determine how, why, for whom, and under what health system context the adherence club intervention works (or not) in r...
Article
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Background Accountability for ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights is increasingly receiving global attention. Less attention has been paid to accountability mechanisms for sexual and reproductive health and rights at national and sub-national level, the focus of this systematic review. Methods We searched for peer-reviewed literatur...
Data
The search strategy. (DOCX)
Data
Data quality appraisal. (DOCX)
Data
The papers included in the review. (DOCX)
Data
Summary of reported outcomes by type. (DOCX)
Article
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Background The successful initiation of people living with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in South Africa has engendered challenges of poor retention in care and suboptimal adherence to medication. The adherence club intervention was implemented in the Metropolitan area of the Western Cape Province to address these challenges. The adheren...
Article
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Background: Despite continued interest in the use of mobile health for improving maternal health outcomes, there have been limited attempts to identify relevant program theories. Objectives: This study had two aims: first, to explicate the assumptions of program designers, which we call the program theory and second, to contrast this program the...
Article
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Background: Poor retention in care and suboptimal adherence to antiretroviral treatment (ART) undermine its successful rollout in South Africa. The adherence club intervention was designed as an adherence-enhancing intervention to enhance the retention in care of patients on ART and their adherence to medication. Although empirical evidence sugges...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mobile technology (mHealth) is increasingly being used to achieve improved access and quality of maternal care, particularly in rural areas of low- and middle-income countries. In 2011, a mobile application—Mobile for Mothers (MfM)—was implemented in Jharkhand, India to support home visits by community health workers. The objective of th...
Article
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Background: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are seen in most corners as the embodiment of a more inclusive and holistic development approach, key to addressing the numerous and urgent challenges the world faces. In the health realm, a true SDG approach will require a five-fold paradigm shift according to Buse and Hawkes. This article expl...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Improving maternal health outcomes remains a priority in Low and Middle Income Countries. With the rapid proliferation of mobile health technologies, there is an increased interest in understanding how these technologies can effectively improve maternal health outcomes particularly maternal health seeking knowledge and behaviors. Howev...