Ethiopian community health workers’ beliefs and attitudes towards children with autism: impact of a brief training intervention

Tilahun, Dejene, Fekadu, Abebaw, Tekola, Betlehem, Araya, Mesfin, Roth, Ilona, Davey, Basiro, Hanlon, Charlotte and Hoekstra, Rosa A (2017) Ethiopian community health workers’ beliefs and attitudes towards children with autism: impact of a brief training intervention. Autism. ISSN 1362-3613

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Abstract

There is a severe shortage of services for children with autism in Ethiopia; access to services is further impeded by negative beliefs and stigmatising attitudes towards affected children and their families. To increase access to services, care provision is decentralised through task-shifted care by community health extension workers (HEWs).

This study aimed to examine the impact of a brief training (Health Education and Training; HEAT) for Ethiopian rural HEWs and comprised three groups: i) HEWs who completed a basic mental health training module (HEAT group, N=104); ii) HEWs who received enhanced training, comprising basic HEAT as well as video-based training on developmental disorders and a mental health pocket guide (HEAT+ group, N=97); iii) HEWs untrained in mental health (N=108). All participants completed a questionnaire assessing beliefs and social distance towards children with autism. Both the HEAT and HEAT+ group showed fewer negative beliefs and decreased social distance towards children with autism compared to the untrained HEW group, with the HEAT+ group outperforming the HEAT group.

However, HEAT+ trained HEWs were less likely to have positive expectations about children with autism than untrained HEWs. These findings have relevance for task-sharing and scale up of autism services in low-resource settings worldwide.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder; Developmental disabilities; Community Health Workers; Developing Countries; Ethiopia; Stigma; Attitude
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Global Health and Infection
Research Centres and Groups: Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research
Depositing User: Esther Garibay
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2018 11:00
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2018 14:33
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/72955

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