Attitudes of Primary Health Care (PHC) Gatekeepers Towards Patient Referral Policy, Machakos County, Kenya
Nshimirimana, Desire Aime
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Primary Health Care (PHC) serves as the foundation for building a working healthcare system that provide good health outcomes. The quality of PHC delivery and the decision to refer patients depends on some behavioural factors (knowledge, skills and behaviour) of primary care providers. The study was conducted at 100 PHC centres sampled using Taro Yamane formula, in Machakos County, Kenya, from March to May 2015. It involved 8 gender-based focus group discussions (FGDs) with patients and their caretakers. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from emancipated children and adults aged 15-65 years excluding the disabled due to data integrity issues. The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20.0 and Atlas.ti 7 software were used for analysis. A questionnaire return rate of 83% was achieved of whom 84.3% were nurses (p<0.001) and 15.7% were diploma holders in clinical medicine (clinical officers). The health workers were young (P<0.001) and married (p<0.001). About 62% of the respondents reported to know about PHC gatekeeper system and 38% don’t know about PHC gatekeeper system. The gate keepers at a majority rate 86.7% reported to have participated in workshops of which at least 40.3% participated in at least one workshop per year, means that the majority of gatekeepers don’t fill the required continuing professional development (CPD) to renew their licenses. Bad behavior, poor communication, don’t care attitude, long waiting time and no courtesy were mentioned by patients by 60% of respondents as the main contributing factors to non-compliance of patients with the national patient referral policy. Attitudes (knowledge, skills and behaviour) are crucial in primary care gatekeeper policy implementation. It has been made clear that nurses acquire enough knowledge from college to take care of patients but still need more practical knowledge and experience to increase their performance. This study recommends an innovative plan using incentive driven model and performance rewards in the implementation process.
Science Journal of Public Health