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Applying Participatory Action Research Approaches to Postcrisis Settings: A Case Study From Monrovia, Liberia

By: & Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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This SAGE case study discusses not only the importance but also the challenges of using participatory action research methods in postcrisis settings. The case study focuses on Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, which lost 12 staff and became a holding facility for suspected Ebola cases during the March 2014–January 2016 Ebola crisis, leaving the population without obstetric care for 6 months. Redemption inpatient services reopened in January 2015, but attendance for deliveries was markedly low. The local community had lost their trust in the hospital and its health workers during the epidemic. Participatory action research was felt to be an effective approach to (1) build communication between stakeholder groups; (2) to identify impacts of the epidemic on maternal health services, and the wider factors for these impacts; and (3) to identify the shared actions needed to improve the system and to learn from action. In July 2015, a participatory action research process began with pregnant women, community-based trained traditional midwives and traditional birth attendants, community leaders, and health workers from the hospital and its surrounds. The outcomes of the process suggest that participatory action research methods can be effectively applied to low-resource settings, and specifically in postcrisis contexts, to rebuild health systems that are responsive to current and future needs.

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Participatory action research

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