Publications & Reports

Strategies to reduce stigma and discrimination in sexual and reproductive healthcare settings: A mixed-methods systematic review

Bohren MA, Vazquez Corona M, Odiase OJ, Wilson AN, Sudhinaraset M, Diamond-Smith N, Berryman J, Tunçalp O, Afulani PA

Abstract

Stigma and discrimination are fundamental causes of health inequities, and reflect privilege, power, and disadvantage within society. Experiences and impacts of stigma and discrimination are well-documented, but a critical gap remains on effective strategies to reduce stigma and discrimination in sexual and reproductive healthcare settings. We aimed to address this gap by conducting a mixed-methods systematic review and narrative synthesis to describe strategy types and characteristics, assess effectiveness, and synthesize key stakeholder experiences. We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, Global Health, and grey literature. We included quantitative and qualitative studies evaluating strategies to reduce stigma and discrimination in sexual and reproductive healthcare settings. We used an implementationfocused narrative synthesis approach, with four steps: 1) preliminary descriptive synthesis, 2) exploration of relationships between and across studies, 3) thematic analysis of qualitative evidence, and 4) model creation to map strategy aims and outcomes. Of 8,262 articles screened, we included 12 articles from 10 studies. Nine articles contributed quantitative data, and all measured health worker-reported outcomes, typically about awareness of stigma or if they acted in a stigmatizing way. Six articles contributed qualitative data, five were health worker perspectives post-implementation and showed favorable experiences of strategies and beliefs that strategies encouraged introspection and cultural humility. We mapped studies to levels where stigma can exist and be confronted and identified critical differences between levels of stigma strategies aimed to intervene on and evaluation approaches used. Important foundational work has described stigma and discrimination in sexual and reproductive healthcare settings, but limited interventional work has been conducted. Healthcare and policy interventions aiming to improve equity should consider intervening on and measuring stigma and discrimination-related outcomes. Efforts to address mistreatment will not be effective when stigma and discrimination persist. Our analysis and recommendations can inform future intervention design and implementation research to promote respectful, person-centered care for all.

Link to publisher’s web site

Publication

  • Journal: PLoS Global Public Health
  • Published: 15/06/2022
  • Volume: 2
  • Issue: 6
  • Pagination: e0000582

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