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Original Research

Strategies for Effective Stakeholder Engagement in Strengthening Referral Networks for Management of Hypertension Across Health Systems in Kenya

Authors:

Constantine Akwanalo ,

College of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret; Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, KE
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Benson Njuguna,

Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, KE
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Tim Mercer,

Department of Population Health, University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, Austin, TX, US
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Sonak D. Pastakia,

College of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret, KE; College of Pharmacy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, US
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Ann Mwangi,

College of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret, KE
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Jonathan Dick,

Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, US
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Julia Dickhaus,

Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, US
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Josephine Andesia,

Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare, KE
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Gerald S. Bloomfield,

Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, US
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Thomas Valente,

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, US
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Joseph Kibachio,

Division of Non-Communicable Diseases, Ministry of Health, Nairobi, KE
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Max Pillsbury,

School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, US
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Shravani Pathak,

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, US
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Aarti Thakkar,

Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, US
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Rajesh Vedanthan,

Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, US
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Jemima Kamano,

College of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret; Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, KE
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Violet Naanyu

College of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret, KE
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Abstract

Background: Ineffective referral networks in low- and middle-income countries hinders access to evidence-based therapies by hypertensive patients, leading to high cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. The STRENGTHS (Strengthening Referral Networks for Management of Hypertension Across Health Systems) study evaluates strategies to improve referral processes utilizing the International Association of Public Participation framework to engage stakeholders.

Objectives: This study sought to identify and engage key stakeholders involved in referral of patients in the Ministry of Health, western Kenya.

Methods: Key stakeholders involved in policy formulation, provision, or consumption of public health care service were mapped out and contacted by phone, letters, and emissaries to schedule meetings, explain research objectives, and obtain feedback.

Results: Key stakeholders identified were the Ministry of Health, the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare, health professionals, communities and their leadership, and patients. Engaging them resulted in permission to contact research in their areas of jurisdiction and enabled collaboration in updating care protocols with emphasis on timely and appropriate referrals.

Conclusions: Early stakeholder identification and engagement using the International Association of Public Participation model eased explanation of research objectives, building consensus, and shaping the interventions to improve the referral process.

  • Strengthening the referral process for hypertension in low- and middle-income countries will improve access to evidence-based and guideline-based care, leading to reduced cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.
  • Early identification of multiple stakeholders involved in hypertension care and the referral process hastens consensus-building on research objectives and shaping contextualized interventions.
  • We used the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) framework during the engagement process, due to its flexibility in allowing multiple contacts with stakeholders.
How to Cite: Akwanalo C, Njuguna B, Mercer T, Pastakia SD, Mwangi A, Dick J, et al.. Strategies for Effective Stakeholder Engagement in Strengthening Referral Networks for Management of Hypertension Across Health Systems in Kenya. Global Heart. 2019;14(2):173–9. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.gheart.2019.06.003
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Published on 01 Jun 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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