Primary health care and maternal, infant and child health of Western Australia

Date

2010

Authors

McAullay, Daniel

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Abstract

There is strong evidence that supports the importance of focusing health care in the early years to ensure that health throughout the lifecourse is the best it can be. There is also evidence to support the important role primary health care has in contributing to care during this time. Within Western Australia, there are no specific examples of work that have examined the contribution of primary health care services to maternal, infant and child health. The aim of this descriptive epidemiological study was to investigate what contribution primary health care has made to the maternal, infant and child health of selected communities in Western Australia. Using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods, selected maternal, infant and child health outcomes were mapped to 155 SLA defined geographically sites across Western Australia. These sites were then ranked from top to bottom according to the outcomes mapped. Of these sites, nine were chosen as case study sites. Key informants within these case study sites representing General Practice care, Government health care and the Aboriginal primary health care settings were interviewed. Information collected from these interviews described how and in which context services were delivered in the areas of maternal, infant and child health. The results of the study indicated that across Western Australia there is a striking lack of consistency in maternal, infant and child primary health care. The primary health care contribution to maternal, infant and child health is ad hoc and lacking of consistent policy, planning and programming. However, there are examples where the contribution of primary health care exhibits appropriate policy, planning and program linkage. Aboriginal primary health care for example, in particular the Healthy for Life program shows how policy and planning associated with a funded program has resulted in care in the area of maternal health across several study sites. The study also indicated the important influencing factor that social determinants of health may play in contributing to maternal, infant and child health across Western Australia. The study findings highlight that there is a need to ensure that when planning for policy and program implementation of maternal, infant and child primary health care, existing models such as the Healthy for Life program should be examined. The study also indicated the importance of incorporating factors outside of health into policy and program planning.

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Thesis (PhD)

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Open Access

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DOI

10.25911/5d5e78e5ccbba

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