Identifying health care access barriers in southern rural Ecuador
Background: Access to professional health care providers in Loja Province, Ecuador can be difficult for many citizens. The Health Care Access Barrier Model (HCAB) was established to provide a framework for classification, analysis, and reporting of modifiable health care access barriers. This study uses the HCAB Model to identify barriers and themes impacting access to health care access in southern rural Ecuador. Methods: The research team interviewed 22 participants and completed 15 participant observation studies in the study area. Interviews and a single focus group session of artisans were recorded and transcribed from Spanish to English, and thematic analysis was performed. Results: The thematic analysis found financial, structural, and cognitive health care access barriers. Cost of medications, transportation, missed responsibilities at work and home, difficulty scheduling appointments, and misconceptions in health literacy were the predominant themes contributing to health care access. These pressure points provide insight on where actions may be taken to alleviate access barriers. Conclusion: Modifiable health care access barriers outlined in the HCAB are evident in the study area. Further research and implementation of programs to resolve these barriers, such as the creation of health care subcenters and/or mobile clinic, insurance coverage of specialized care, increasing availability and accessibility to affordable transportation, improving roadways, introduction of a 24/7 call center to schedule medical visits, monetary incentive for primary care physicians to practice in rural and underserved areas, provision of affordable work equipment, and emphasizing the improvement of health care literacy through education, may diminish current barriers, identify additional barriers, and improve overall health in the rural area of Loja, Ecuador and similar rural regions around the world.
Brusnahan, Anthony; Carrasco-Tenezaca, Majo; Bates, Benjamin R.; Roche, Rosellen; and Grijalva, Mario J., "Identifying health care access barriers in southern rural Ecuador" (2022). Biomedical Sciences Open Access Publications. 149.