Health systems strengthening in rural Africa through improving population compliance with health services
Miriam Mapulanga, Chris Mweemba
Africa, with its weak health systems, experiences a higher number of non compliance with health services mostly in rural areas. Compliance is one of the most prominent issues in health care delivery globally and it is the best way to achieve desired outcomes in patients, hence promoting quality health services delivery which is the objective of a strong health system. Health systems in Africa face a number of challenges, of which resources constraint is paramount. Improving compliance with health services in rural Africa can help strengthen the actual service delivery building block leading to strong health systems. This study investigated methods of strengthening health systems in rural Africa through improving population compliance with health services. The study was carried out in two rural communities of Zambia, Southern Africa. Data was collected through Key Informant Interviews and Focus Group Discussion. Six Key Informant Interviews were done with key informants from the two communities who were either member of the Neighbour-Hood Committee or Community Health Workers. Two Focus Group Discussions with village headmen/women or village representative were done, each focus group comprised of 10 members. One focus group discussion was done in each community. A thematic analysis approach was used to identify, analyze and reporting patterns. The study found that health systems strengthening in rural Africa through improving population compliance with health services lies in increasing accessibility to health services, increasing service coverage, involving the community in decision making, engaging and mobilising the community with regards to health services provided, providing health education to the community and making health services be delivered in friendly environments. Improving patients’ compliance with health services can improve the quality of health services and thus strengthening health systems in remote locations and rural parts of Africa.