Access to healthcare for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in Accra, Ghana: Challenges and strategies for improvement
This dissertation explored the health needs of children with IDD in Accra, Ghana, experiences of caregivers in accessing healthcare for the children and views of caregivers on how to improve healthcare for the children. The aim was to provide policymakers and administrators with direction for critical decision-making and policy reforms to improve healthcare for children with IDD towards Ghana’s policy commitment on the international front to provide equitable healthcare for all. This research was grounded in interpretive description, a form of qualitative inquiry. Semi-structured caregiver interviews were the primary means of data collection. The interview protocol was guided by the Andersen Behavioral Model of Healthcare Utilization and the protocol explored the health needs of children with IDD, experiences of caregivers in accessing healthcare for the children and views of caregivers on how to improve healthcare for children. Twenty-five caregivers of children with IDD between ages three and eighteen years in Accra, Ghana, participated in this study. Constant comparison, an analytic method originally from grounded theory but also used in interpretative description, was used for data analysis. The findings revealed that children with IDD in Accra were affected by several health conditions, including sensory disorders, respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disorders and gastrointestinal disorders. Further, the children and their caregivers encountered both facilitators and complex structural and psychosocial barriers in accessing healthcare. The facilitators and barriers included financial means, social connections, access to transportation, and attitudes of healthcare providers and the general public toward children with IDD. The findings imply that although children with IDD in Ghana might be affected by several health conditions, they confront complex structural and psychosocial barriers in accessing healthcare to undermine Ghana’s commitment on the international front to provide equitable access to healthcare for all.
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