Original Research

Barriers and facilitators in the implementation of bio-psychosocial care at the primary healthcare level in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo

Christian E.N. Molima, Hermès Karemere, Ghislain Bisimwa, Samuel Makali, Pacifique Mwene-Batu, Espoir B. Malembaka, Jean Macq
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 13, No 1 | a2608 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v13i1.2608 | © 2021 Christian E.N. Molima, Hermès Karemere, Ghislain Bisimwa, Samuel Makali, Pacifique Mwene-Batu, Espoir B. Malembaka, Jean Macq | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 June 2020 | Published: 20 April 2021

About the author(s)

Christian E.N. Molima, École Régionale de Santé Publique (ERSP), Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Bukavu, Bukavu, The Democratic Republic of Congo; and, Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), Ecole de Santé Publique, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium
Hermès Karemere, École Régionale de Santé Publique (ERSP), Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Bukavu, Bukavu, The Democratic Republic of Congo
Ghislain Bisimwa, École Régionale de Santé Publique (ERSP), Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Bukavu, Bukavu, The Democratic Republic of Congo
Samuel Makali, École Régionale de Santé Publique (ERSP), Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Bukavu, Bukavu, The Democratic Republic of Congo; and, Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), Ecole de Santé Publique, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium
Pacifique Mwene-Batu, École Régionale de Santé Publique (ERSP), Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Bukavu, Bukavu, The Democratic Republic of Congo; and, Ecole de Santé Publique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
Espoir B. Malembaka, École Régionale de Santé Publique (ERSP), Faculté de Médecine, Université Catholique de Bukavu, Bukavu, The Democratic Republic of Congo; and, Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), Ecole de Santé Publique, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium
Jean Macq, Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), Ecole de Santé Publique, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium


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Abstract

Background: In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), healthcare services are still focused on disease control and mortality reduction in specific groups. The need to broaden the scope from biomedical criteria to bio-psychosocial (BPS) dimensions has been increasingly recognized.

Aim: The objective of this study was to identify the barriers and facilitators to providing healthcare at the health centre (HC) level to enable BPS care.

Settings: This qualitative study was conducted in six HCs (two urban and four rural) in South-Kivu (eastern DRC) which were selected based on their accessibility and their level of primary healthcare organization.

Methods: Seven focus group discussions (FGDs) involving 29 healthcare workers were organized. A data synthesis matrix was created based on the Rainbow Model framework. We identified themes related to plausible barriers and facilitators for BPS approach.

Results: Our study reports barriers common to a majority of HCs: misunderstanding of BPS care by healthcare workers, home visits mainly used for disease control, solidarity initiatives not locally promoted, new resources and financial incentives expected, accountability summed up in specific indicators reporting. Availability of care teams and accessibility to patient information were reported as facilitators to change.

Conclusion: This analysis highlighted major barriers that condition providers’ mindset and healthcare provision at the primary care level in South-Kivu. Accessibility to the information regarding BPS status of individuals within the community, leadership of HC authorities, dynamics of HC teams and local social support initiatives should be considered in order to develop an effective BPS approach in this region.


Keywords

change; bio-psychosocial; primary care; barriers; qualitative research; DRC

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