• Improving support for breastfeeding mothers: a qualitative study on the experiences of breastfeeding among mothers who reside in a deprived and culturally diverse community

      Cook, Erica Jane; Powell, Faye; Ali, Nasreen; Penn-Jones, Catrin Pedder; Ochieng, Bertha; Randhawa, Gurch; ; University of Bedfordshire; De Montfort University (BMC, 2021-04-06)
      The United Kingdom has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe, with the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding shown to be closely related to the mothers' age, ethnicity and social class. Whilst the barriers that influence a woman's decision to breastfeed are well documented, less is known how these barriers vary by the UK's diverse population. As such, this study aimed to explore mothers' experiences of breastfeeding and accessing breastfeeding services offered locally amongst a deprived and culturally diverse community. A qualitative interpretive study comprising of 63 mothers (white British n = 8, Pakistani n = 13, Bangladeshi n = 10, black African n = 15 and Polish n = 17) who took part in single-sex focus groups, conducted in local community centres across the most deprived and ethnically diverse wards in Luton, UK. The focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically using Framework Analysis. The most common barriers to breastfeeding irrespective of ethnicity were perceptions surrounding pain and lack of milk. Confidence and motivation were found to be crucial facilitators of breastfeeding; whereby mothers felt that interventions should seek to reassure and support mothers not only during the early stages but throughout the breastfeeding journey. Mothers particularly valued the practical support provided by health care professions particularly surrounding positioning and attachment techniques. However, many mothers felt that the support from health care professionals was not always followed through. The findings presented inform important recommendations for the design and implementation of future programs and interventions targeted at reducing breastfeeding inequalities. Interventions should focus on providing mothers practical support and reassurance not only during the early stages but throughout their breastfeeding journey. The findings also highlight the need for tailoring services to support diverse communities which acknowledge different traditional and familial practices.
    • A rapid systematic review of public responses to health messages encouraging vaccination against infectious diseases in a pandemic or epidemic

      Lawes-Wickwar, Sadie; Ghio, Daniela; Tang, Mei Yee; Keyworth, Chris; Stanescu, Sabina; Westbrook, Juliette; Jenkinson, Elizabeth; Kassianos, Angelos P.; Scanlan, Daniel; Garnett, Natalie; et al. (MDPI, 2021-01-20)
      Public health teams need to understand how the public responds to vaccination messages in a pandemic or epidemic to inform successful campaigns encouraging the uptake of new vaccines as they become available. A rapid systematic review was performed by searching PsycINFO, MEDLINE, healthevidence.org, OSF Preprints and PsyArXiv Preprints in May 2020 for studies including at least one health message promoting vaccine uptake of airborne-, droplet- and fomite-spread viruses. Included studies were assessed for quality using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) or the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR), and for patient and public involvement (PPI) in the research. Thirty-five articles were included. Most reported messages for seasonal influenza (n = 11; 31%) or H1N1 (n = 11; 31%). Evidence from moderate to high quality studies for improving vaccine uptake included providing information about virus risks and vaccination safety, as well as addressing vaccine misunderstandings, offering vaccination reminders, including vaccination clinic details, and delivering mixed media campaigns across hospitals or communities. Behavioural influences (beliefs and intentions) were improved when: shorter, risk-reducing or relative risk framing messages were used; the benefits of vaccination to society were emphasised; and beliefs about capability and concerns among target populations (e.g., vaccine safety) were addressed. Clear, credible, messages in a language target groups can understand were associated with higher acceptability. Two studies (6%) described PPI in the research process. Future campaigns should consider the beliefs and information needs of target populations in their design, including ensuring that vaccine eligibility and availability is clear, and messages are accessible. More high quality research is needed to demonstrate the effects of messaging interventions on actual vaccine uptake.
    • ‘They are kids, let them eat’: a qualitative investigation into the parental beliefs and practices of providing a healthy diet for young children among a culturally diverse and deprived population in the UK

      Cook, Erica Jane; Powell, Faye; Ali, Nasreen; Penn-Jones, Catrin Pedder; Ochieng, Bertha; Constantinou, Georgina; Randhawa, Gurch; ; University of Bedfordshire; University of Cambridge; et al. (MDPI, 2021-12-11)
      In the UK, ethnic minority children are at greater risk of obesity and weight-related ill health compared to the wider national population. The factors that influence the provision of a healthy diet among these populations remain less understood. An interpretive qualitative study with a phenomenological perspective comprised of 24 single sex semi-structured focus groups was conducted with 110 parents (63 mothers and 47 fathers) of young children (aged 0–5 years). The participants were recruited from deprived and ethnically diverse wards in Luton, UK and self-identified as being white British, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, black African–Caribbean or Polish. The findings highlighted a wide range of inter-relating psychological and sociocultural factors that underpin parental beliefs and practices in providing children with a healthy diet. Parents, whilst aware of the importance of providing children with a healthy diet, faced challenges such as lack of time and balancing competing responsibilities, which were clear barriers to providing children with a healthy diet. Access to and affordability of healthy food and the overexposure of cheap, convenient, and unhealthy processed foods made it increasingly difficult for parents to provide a healthy diet for their growing families. Household food practices were also found to be situated within the wider context of sociocultural and religious norms around cooking and eating, along with cultural identity and upbringing.
    • Understanding healthcare self-referral in Nigeria from the service users' perspective: a qualitative study of Niger state

      Koce, Francis George; Randhawa, Gurch; Ochieng, Bertha; University of Bedfordshire; De Montfort University (Biomed Central, 2019-04-02)
      Background The by-pass of the primary level of care to the referral facilities has continued to raise concerns for the healthcare delivery system. About 60–90% of patients in Nigeria are reported to self-refer to a referral level of care. Thus, this study sought to identify the factors that influence service-users’ decision to self-refer to the secondary healthcare facilities in Nigeria by exploring the perceptions and experiences of the service-users. Methods Twenty-four self-referred service-users were interviewed from three selected secondary healthcare facilities (general hospitals) in Niger state, Nigeria. The interviews were tape-recorded, each lasting 20 min on average. This was subsequently transcribed and framework analysis was employed for the analysis. Results Various reasons were identified to have resulted in the bypass of the primary healthcare facilities in favour of the secondary level of care. The identified themes were organised based on the predisposing, enabling and need component of Andersen’s model. These themes included: patients understanding of the healthcare delivery system; perceptions about the healthcare providers; perceptions about healthcare equipment/ facilities; advice from relatives and friends; service-users’ expectations; access to healthcare facilities; regulations/ policies; medical symptoms; perceptions of severity of medical symptoms. Conclusions The findings from this study call for an evaluation of the current healthcare referral system, particularly in developing settings like Nigeria and consequently the need for developing a contextual model as applicable to individual settings. Therefore, a multifaceted approach is needed to address the current concerns to ensure patients utilise the appropriate level of care. This will ensure the primary healthcare facilities are not undermined and allow the referral levels of care to live up to their mandate.