Catalyzing development of Best Practice Guidelines for Community-managed health Programs: Case study of a Community-Academic Partnership
Background. There is a need to standardize community health practices, while still adhering to principles of community involvement, to ensure social acceptability and equitable access to health services. A set of Best practice guidelines (BPGs) were thus developed through a community-academic partnership (CAP) between the Integrative Medicine for Alternative Healthcare Systems Philippines, Inc. and its affiliated community-managed health programs (CMHPs), the University of the Philippines, and Bicol University.
Objective. This study aimed to report the process and insights gained from the crafting of the BPGs.
Methods. The BPGs were developed using a community-based participatory research approach and focused on top ten (10) diseases based on local prevalence and experiences of its CMHPs.
Results. BPGs were developed for eight (8) communicable diseases (common cold/cough, influenza, measles, pulmonary tuberculosis, acute gastroenteritis, amebiasis, scabies, and intestinal parasitism); and two (2) noncommunicable diseases (diabetes and hypertension), which also provided information on signs and symptoms, initial referral criteria, management, and, where appropriate, specific use of medicinal plants, acupressure, and traditional massage. Emerging issues from this project include how community involvement led to the development of BPGs, the need to update its content, its potential application as a model for costing public health interventions, its anticipated benefits to health workers, the state of local health service delivery, and how the project epitomizes the ideal concept of community-academic partnerships.
Conclusion. As a CAP project, this process holds promise as a catalyst for stakeholder engagement and health service delivery improvement. Further studies are necessary to map out other potential challenges and success factors, especially the socio-cultural, political, and health impact of CAPs.