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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 43-47

Understanding the fundamental elements of global health: Using the sen capability approach as the theoretical framework for a health needs assessment in deprived communities

1 Department of HIV care and treatment, Nazareth Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
2 Hughes Hall, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
3 Department of General Practice Postgraduate Education, NHS Health Education England, East of, England
4 Department of Nursing, Kenya Medical Training College, Chuka, Kenya
5 AIC Kijabe Hospital, Kijabe; Department of Family Medicine, Kabarak University, Nakuru, Kenya
6 Research Unit and Department of General Practice, Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence Address:
Arthur Hibble
Visiting Professor Primary Care, Anglia Ruskin University, Tutor, Hughes Hall, Cambridge University, 1 Searle Street, Cambridge, CB4 3DB
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.239046

Background: The health needs in poor communities are often dictated by data that is not relevant to the community. The capabilities approach (CA) offers a philosophical and practical way to frame and analyse data and apply it to a community using the World Health Organisation socioeconomic framework. This was part of the NHS Health Education England East Midlands Global Health Exchange Fellow Programme. Methods: A team of 2 Kenyan and 2 UK community clinicians worked together in deprived communities in Kenya and the UK using qualitative research methods to facilitate the communities to define and prioritise their health needs and to explore their potential resources and how they might achieve their needs sustainably. The CA was used in the data collection and data analysis phases. Results: The team of fellows gained personal understanding of the reality of the impact of social determinants on health experiences and outcomes. The CA offers the health systems and services a way to engage hard to reach communities with issues that they know to be important and are then able to prioritise. Clinicians who are taught in the evidence based style need to reframe their understanding of community needs if they are to be effective in their work. Working in this way can challenge their own values and beliefs. With planned support this can be a powerful developmental process and the CA is a set of principles that can be used to facilitate the empowerment of communities, the service planners and providers.

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