243777 Provider perspectives on the delivery of HIV education and prevention in rural Sierra Leone, West Africa

Monday, October 31, 2011

John F. Yannessa, PhD , Department of Health Promotion, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC
Fredanna A. D. M'Cormack, PhD , Department of Health Promotion, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC
Issues: Although HIV education structures have existed for decades globally, scant information is available about the epidemic in Sierra Leone, West Africa. While much information has been disseminated regarding the epidemic in rural areas of other countries, little information is available regarding HIV education in rural Sierra Leone. In this context, provider perspectives regarding HIV education remain less researched. Description: The Bele Uman Project was conceptualized as a multifaceted project that facilitates understanding of socio-ecological contributing factors that lead to maternal morbidity and mortality. This includes the HIV epidemic as it intersects with maternal health issues in Sierra Leone. Bele Uman intended this initiative to examine, in a preliminary fashion, provider perspectives of factors that impact HIV education efforts in rural Sierra Leone. Methods: Qualitative methods were used to gather data from 13 HIV providers who serve rural districts of Sierra Leone. Lessons Learned: Findings suggest two primary themes: systemic lack of education/training for the providers, and provider self-stigma regarding their ability to effectively communicate prevention/education messages, HIV serostatus, and follow-up counseling. Recommendations: The data gathered illustrates the need for substantial HIV training to be offered to the healthcare providers. Although there is a commonly health belief that training is necessary in terms of prenatal care, these results suggest that there is an even greater need in regards to HIV training as it affects maternal health. In addition, future programs and initiatives must aim to improve the health literacy of the rural communities using culturally appropriate methods and messages.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss and describe the challenges that providers face when seeking to provide HIV counseling, testing, and education in rural areas of a country in Western Africa.

Keywords: Health Education, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a faculty member of a University who was directly responsible for the conception and collection of this data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.