Tackling Health Inequities Through Social Justice

Solutions discussed:

Conduct regular interactive workshops with members of the local community and use participatory action research methods

Outsiders cannot anticipate a community's top priorities without speaking to members of the community. Actively seek out people that can be representative of different groups within the community and bring them together in a safe space where they can speak freely. They should know that they have influence on decision making from the start of the process. Use participatory action research methods and tools to understand the problems, rank health priorities, identify goals and create action plans. Give greater power to community members to decide how to conduct research, when to have meetings, who to involve, how to disseminate the information and results (e.g. via radio or TV programmes rather than just research papers).

Presented by: Lucia D’Ambruoso, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen

Community Dialogue and Water Needs

Community Dialogue and Water Needs

Build multipurpose women's centres which can provide multiple services in one place, improving access and uptake of services

There is a need to make women's health services accessible and safe especially in deprived and rural areas. In Uganda, Action for Women and Awakening in Rural Environment (AWARE) is led by local women activists in Karamoja who have built trust in the community and are now advancing health of women and girls through their women's centre. Lots of different services are provided in one place, ( making it easier to access ). The services include shelter from violence, education on finances or agriculture, and prenatal care among others.

Presented by: Dr. Phyllis Awor, Lecturer in the school of public health, Makerere University, Uganda

Action for Women and Awakening in Rural Environment 

Create hostels for mothers in areas where they are at high risk of mortality from pregnancy and childbirth. Make an active effort to find at-risk women living in isolated areas

In Uganda, Bwindi Mothers Waiting Hostel identifies high-risk mothers living in hard-to-reach areas through the hospital community nurse team. The women are encouraged to stay in the hostel for up to a month before delivery depending on the severity of their risk. Daily monitoring of the mothers is done by the midwives. Supervised deliveries, antenatal services, counselling, emergency obstetric care, and education services are provided.

Presented by: Dr. Phyllis Awor, Lecturer in the school of public health, Makerere University, Uganda

Bwindi Mothers Waiting Hostel 

Make social and cutural behaviour a health priority, rather than just clinical aspects of healthcare

In New Zealand, people have a different mindset - 'my care isn't sitting there in a file on the doctor's computer, it's me and my actions'. People are health actors, not just recipients of clinical care. So, people take part in preventative healthcare intiatives and health service planning.

Presented by: Dr. Rene Loewenson, Director, Training and Research Support Centre

Integrate healthcare workers into the community - have health representatives in different sectors e.g. farming, education, theatre, environment and others

This solution will help to integrate health priorities into every part of the community, and to facilitate cross-sectoral change. During Covid-19, community action networks in South Africa involved health workers and other sectors working together to provide food kitchens and care packs for homeless people, and to organise mask-making sessions. These actions help to deal with the crisis on a local level. Another example: health workers worked with local farmers to set up food deliveries to vulnerable households.

Presented by: Dr. Rene Loewenson, Director, Training and Research Support Centre

Challenges and Choices for Public Health

Make community participation easier to do through digital innovation

Sunucity is a locally developed mobile phone app in Senegal for local people to report unusual events, problems, and epidemic outbreaks to authorities, and for the latter to provide information to communities. People can submit reports using words, pictures, drawings or voice messages - making it even easier to use. (However, there is a need to be careful that this solution doesn't isolate certain people, as not everyone has phone and internet access).

Presented by: Dr. Rene Loewenson, Director, Training and Research Support Centre

Click here for more information (Twitter)

Recruit volunteers from the local community to collect information

In São Paolo, during the pandemic, local volunteers were trained to speak to neighbours about their issues. This information was fed back to weekly meetings with all volunteers, to discuss these 'cases' and determine how to proceed.

Sunucity Twitter Sunucity App