World Health & Population

World Health & Population 11(4) April 2010 : 13-22.doi:10.12927/whp.2010.21720

A Participatory Approach to Assessing Refugee Perceptions of Health Services

Brett D. Nelson, Marya Getchell, Stephanie Rosborough, Benjamin Atwine, Elijah Okeyo and P. Gregg Greenough

Objective: The necessity and value of beneficiary input is widely recognized by the humanitarian community. Nevertheless, limited beneficiary involvement occurs due to various barriers. This study explores the effectiveness of an innovative, participatory approach to assessing beneficiary perceptions in resource-limited settings.

Methods: A unique hybrid of qualitative and quantitative methodologies assessed perceptions of health programs within five refugee camps in Kenya and Tanzania. A database of perceptions and opinions was established through key-informant interviews, focus group discussions and free-response questionnaires among refugees, community leaders and healthcare providers. Each participant subsequently force-ranked the collected views into quasi-normal distribution according to level of agreement. Responses were analyzed using by-person factor analysis software.

Findings: Eighty-one individuals (96%) successfully completed the participatory exercise. The methodologies identified detailed levels of consensus, rank-ordered priorities and unique sub-population opinions.

Conclusion: The authors illustrate benefits and feasibility of qualitative quantitative participatory methodology in assessing beneficiary perceptions of refugee services.



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