Evaluating the History-Taking Process of Sexual Reproductive Health Problems in Tanzania: Lessons from a Study of Health Students and Practitioners
Building trust and therapeutic relationships between healthcare providers and patients is crucial for delivering high-quality, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Yet, while patients face substantial SRH disparities in Tanzania, little is known about health care professionals’ [HCPs] SRH history-taking practices and experiences. This paper describes HCPs’ interdisciplinary practices, experience in conducting SRH taking, and the critical lessons learned to optimize quality SRH care. We conducted 18 focus group discussions in June 2019 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with 60 healthcare practitioners and 61 students in midwifery, nursing, and medicine. We implemented a purposive, stratified sampling design to explore the experiences and perspectives of HCPs regarding providing sexual health services. We employed a grounded theory approach to perform the analysis. We provided seven scenarios to participants to discuss how they would manage SRH health problems. The scenarios helped us evaluate the practice and experience of SRH in Tanzania. Four broad themes and sub-themes emerged during the discussion; 1) SRH history-taking practices and experiences in the health care facilities; 2) the perceived benefit of effective SRH history-taking; 3) Factors hindering the SRH history-taking process; 4) The power of confidence. These findings have implications for strengthening a sexual health curriculum for medical students and continuing education programs for practising health professionals designed to address the observed health disparities in Tanzania. These findings affirm that proper SRH history-taking requires a conducive environment, knowledge of relevant SRH-related laws and regulations, application of evidence-based techniques, and giving patients autonomy to make decisions for their health while making recommendations regarding standard care. Comprehensive SRH history-taking identifies critical data for illness diagnosis, provides foundational information for risk-reduction behavioural change counselling, and reduces medical costs. Therefore, the primary goal is to optimize health professional training on SRH issues and history-taking skills within the medical interview
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Copyright (c) 2023 Ever Mkonyi, PhD, Maria Trent, Dorkasi L. Mwakawanga, Agnes Fredrick Massae, PhD, Michael W. Ross, PhD, Zobeida E. Bonilla, PhD, Inari S. Mohammed, Gift Gadiel Lukumay, Stella Emmanuel Mushy, PhD, Lucy Raphael Mgopa, PhD, James Wadley, PhD, Dickson Ally Mkoka, PhD, Brian Robert Simon Rosser, PhD
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