Narrative synthesis systematic review of Pakistani women's health outcomes from primary care interventions

Sara Rizvi Jafree, Qaisar Khalid Mahmood, Sohail Mujahid, Muhammad Asim, Jane Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Women living in Pakistan have complex health problems including infectious and non-communicable diseases, accident and injuries, and mental health problems. While a majority of these women rely on primary healthcare services for all of their healthcare needs, there has to date been no overview of the extent of their effectiveness. The objective of this review was to (1) synthesise the available evidence regarding the effectiveness of primary care based interventions aimed at improving women's mental and physical health and (2) identify the factors that promote effectiveness for women's health outcomes. Methods Five academic databases were searched, including PubMed, BMC Medicine, Medline, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library. A search was also made of the grey literature. The quality of included studies was assessed using a standardised critical appraisal tool, and the findings summarised using a narrative synthesis. Results In total, 18 studies were included in the review. Eight involved evaluations of counselling interventions, three health education and awareness interventions, two social and psychosocial interventions, and five were evaluations of combination interventions. Twelve of the included studies were randomised controlled trials. Of these 14 reported significant outcomes, and 4 further interventions showed partially favourable results. However, interventions mostly targeted women's mental or reproductive health. Conclusions While the evidence is limited in terms of quality and what has been evaluated, a number of interventions appear to be effective in improving outcomes for women. The three key approaches include the adoption of an active door-to-door and group-based approach; utilisation of community peers who can deliver care cost-effectively and who are more accepted in the community; and the integration of financial vouchers to support uptake in poor populations. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020203472.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere061644
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • Health policy
  • Organisation of health services


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