BACKGROUND: While poverty and lack of life opportunities are root causes of a high burden of disease and infant and maternal mortality, inadequate health care contributes heavily. Often those who are left without care are those who need it most. Existing health services are managed without taking into account acceptance and need perspectives. This further reduces the effectiveness of and equity in health care. In order to guide the planning of reproductive health services by a national NGO, health needs were assessed in a district in Sindh using a combination of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and qualitative and quantitative research methods. PRA is considered as a better framework to assess, analyse and develop programs with communities. OBJECTIVE: The objective of PRA was to initiate community involvement and to understand the needs of health care from a community perspective. METHODOLOGY: PRA was conducted with groups of men and women from three rural areas in a district of Sindh, Pakistan using a life cycle framework. The community members identified various stages of their life with the associated health issues. RESULTS: This research was empowering to community members as it facilitated community involvement. The respondents took charge of the process of identification of health needs at PRA sessions. PRA helped identify health problems considered prevalent and important by the community. More importantly, it helped potential service providers and the community to initiate community involvement in planning. CONCLUSION: PRA is not only an effective tool for assessment and analysis of health issues but also a vehicle to promote community involvement. Additionally, participatory methods contribute to understand the context of quantitative data generated for planning purposes.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2002|