Identifying Communities’ Perspectives on their Health Needs in Impoverished Villages to Guide Non-government Organizations’ Health Promotion Efforts in Guatemala
Keywords:Global health, Guatemala, community health, health needs, faith-based organizations, health promotion
Objective: The aim of this mixed-methods study is to capture and understand impoverished Guatemalan community members’ perspectives of their own health needs on a community level in order to guide Hope of Life (HOL) Non-Profit organization’s health promotion interventions in the villages they serve.
Methods: A modified health needs assessment survey was conducted with 96 participants from four impoverished villages in the department of Zacapa, Guatemala. Survey responses were analyzed for significant differences in 4-item individual, family, and community health scores across demographic variables and significant correlations with reported personal health conditions and children’s health conditions. Five semi-structured interviews were also conducted with community leaders from three of the villages surveyed. Interviews were audio recorded and responses were transcribed verbatim and translated from Spanish to English. Thematic analysis using HyperRESEARCH qualitative analysis software version 4.5.0. was conducted to identify major themes.
Results: The mean age of the 96 participants surveyed was 40.4 years and the majority were women, married or in Union, and have children. Women reported a significantly lower individual and family health score than men. The most rural village included in the study had significantly lower family health scores than the three sub-urban villages in the study. Among the personal health problems reported by participants, alcohol consumption, dental problems, and malnutrition were significant predictors of lower individual health scores. Themes that emerged from the interview analysis included the greatest community health needs, perceived negative community health behaviors, barriers to health care access, HOL’s impact, and suggestions for community health promotion.
Conclusion: The results of this study reveal many unmet health needs and barriers to healthcare that Guatemalan village communities face. Community-based participatory research using a mixed approach voices communities’ perspective on their perceived needs and is an important tool to guide non-profit aid and intervention serving impoverished communities.
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