- Arnold, R., van Teijlingen, E., Ryan, K., Holloway, I. (2018) Parallel worlds: an ethnography of care in an Afghan maternity hospital, Social Science & Medicine 126:33-40.
Congratulations to Dr. Rachel Arnold on the acceptance by Social Science & Medicine (published by Elsevier) of the second paper based on her PhD on maternity care in Afghanistan . This interesting ethnography explores the experiences, motivations and constraints of healthcare providers in a large public Afghan maternity hospital. Arnold and colleagues identify barriers and facilitators in the delivery of care. Under the surface of this maternity hospital, social norms were in conflict with the principles of biomedicine. Contested areas included the control of knowledge, equity and the primary goal of work. The institutional culture was further complicated by pressure from powerful elites. These unseen values and pressures explain much of the disconnection between policy and implementation, education and the everyday behaviours of healthcare providers.
Improving the quality of care and equity in Afghan public maternity hospitals will require political will from all stakeholders to acknowledge these issues and find culturally attuned ways to address them. The authors argue that this notion of parallel and competing world-views on healthcare has relevance beyond Afghanistan. The paper co-authored by (a) Prof. Kath Ryan, Professor of Social Pharmacy at the University of Reading and Visiting Professor in FHSS, and BU’s Professors Immy Holloway and Edwin van Teijlingen.
Our BU briefing papers are designed to make our research outputs accessible and easily digestible so that our research findings can quickly be applied – whether to society, culture, public policy, services, the environment or to improve quality of life. They have been created to highlight research findings and their potential impact within their field.
This paper focuses on the perspectives of Afghan healthcare providers on their roles, experiences, values and motivations, and the impact this has on the quality of care for perinatal women and their newborn babies. To understand their perspectives , the researchers undertook a six-week observation – including interviews and focus groups – to analyse the culture of a maternity hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan.
This research study offers multiple insights into Afghan healthcare provider behaviour and reveals complex interrelated issues that affect care in this setting. It is one of few international studies that explore care from the perspective of healthcare providers in their cultural and social environment. It reveals that understanding the context of healthcare is crucial to understanding behaviour and the underlying problems to quality of care.
Alongside Bournemouth University’s midwifery and other health and social care students who graduated in last Friday’s ceremony, BU honoured prominent midwife Sheena Byrom OBE with an Honorary Doctorate for her services to the profession. Sheena Byrom gave an inspiring speech at Friday’s Graduation. Sheena said, “If they can keep in their hearts the passion and the drive they had when they first came to the university, it will help them to be more resilient and keep them motivated towards what they want to do. Healthcare is a blend between love and science and both are equally important. In practice, it is key that they have the skills, but the things that makes the difference are love and compassion.”
Alongside Sheena two students from the Centre of Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health(CMMPH) graduated with a PhD in Midwifery. Dr. Alison Taylor received her PhD for her qualitative research on breastfeeding. Her thesis is entitled ‘It’s a relief to talk ….’: Mothers’ experiences of breastfeeding recorded on video diaries. Dr. Rachel Arnold was awarded her PhD for her research Afghan women and the culture of care in a Kabul maternity hospital.
Congratulations to all BU undergraduates and Rachel, Alison and Sheena!
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen