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  1. Rhule ELM, Allotey PA
    Infect Dis Poverty, 2020 Jan 13;9(1):3.
    PMID: 31931879 DOI: 10.1186/s40249-019-0616-7
    BACKGROUND: Social Innovation in health initiatives have the potential to address unmet community health needs. For sustainable change to occur, we need to understand how and why a given intervention is effective. Bringing together communities, innovators, researchers, and policy makers is a powerful way to address this knowledge gap but differing priorities and epistemological backgrounds can make collaboration challenging.

    MAIN TEXT: To overcome these barriers, stakeholders will need to design policies and work in ways that provide an enabling environment for innovative products and services. Inherently about people, the incorporation of community engagement approaches is necessary for both the development of social innovations and accompanying research methodologies. Whilst the 'appropriate' level of participation is linked to intended outcomes, researchers have a role to play in better understanding how to harness the power of community engagement and to ensure that community perspectives form part of the evidence base that informs policy and practice.

    CONCLUSIONS: To effectively operate at the intersection between policy, social innovation, and research, all collaborators need to enter the process with the mindset of learners, rather than experts. Methods - quantitative and qualitative - must be selected according to research questions. The fields of implementation research, community-based participatory research, and realist research, amongst others, have much to offer. So do other sectors, notably education and business. In all this, researchers must assume the mantel of responsibility for research and not transfer the onus to communities under the guise of participation. By leveraging the expertise and knowledge of different ecosystem actors, we can design responsive health systems that integrate innovative approaches in ways that are greater than the sum of their parts.

  2. Chong HY, Allotey PA, Chaiyakunapruk N
    BMC Med Genomics, 2018 Oct 26;11(1):94.
    PMID: 30367635 DOI: 10.1186/s12920-018-0420-4
    BACKGROUND: The emergence of personalized medicine (PM) has raised some tensions in healthcare systems. PM is expensive and health budgets are constrained - efficient healthcare delivery is therefore critical. Notwithstanding the cost, many countries have started to adopt this novel technology, including resource-limited Southeast Asia (SEA) countries. This study aimed to describe the status of PM adoption in SEA, highlight the challenges and to propose strategies for future development.

    METHODS: The study included scoping review and key stakeholder interviews in four focus countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. The current landscape of PM adoption was evaluated based on an assessment framework of six key themes - healthcare system, governance, access, awareness, implementation, and data. Six PM programs were evaluated for their financing and implementation mechanisms.

    RESULTS: The findings revealed SEA has progressed in adopting PM especially Singapore and Thailand. A regional pharmacogenomics research network has been established. However, PM policies and programs vary significantly. As most PM programs are champion-driven and the available funding is limited, the current PM distribution has the potential to widen existing health disparities. Low PM awareness in the society and the absence of political support with financial investment are fundamental barriers. There is a clear need to broaden opportunities for critical discourse about PM especially for policymakers. Multi-stakeholder, multi-country strategies need to be prioritized in order to leverage resources and expertise.

    CONCLUSIONS: Adopting PM remains in its infancy in SEA. To achieve an effective PM adoption, it is imperative to balance equity issues across diverse populations while improving efficiency in healthcare.

  3. Muniandy ND, Allotey PA, Soyiri IN, Reidpath DD
    BMJ Open, 2016 11 15;6(11):e011635.
    PMID: 27852704 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011635
    INTRODUCTION: The rise in the prevalence of childhood obesity worldwide calls for an intervention earlier in the life cycle. Studies show that nutrition during early infancy may contribute to later obesity. Hence, this study is designed to determine if the variation in complementary feeding practices poses a risk for the development of obesity later in life. A mixed methods approach will be used in conducting this study.

    METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The target participants are infants born from January to June 2015 in the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) platform. The SEACO is a Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) that is established in the District of Segamat in the state of Johor, Malaysia. For the quantitative strand, the sociodemographic data, feeding practices, anthropometry measurement and total nutrient intake will be assessed. The assessment will occur around the time complementary feeding is expected to start (7 Months) and again at 12 months. A 24-hour diet recall and a 2-day food diary will be used to assess the food intake. For the qualitative strand, selected mothers will be interviewed to explore their infant feeding practices and factors that influence their practices and food choices in detail.

    ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical clearance for this study was sought through the Monash University Human Research and Ethics Committee (application number CF14/3850-2014002010). Subsequently, the findings of this study will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journals, national and international conferences.

  4. Mairami FF, Warren N, Allotey PA, Reidpath DD
    Disabil Rehabil, 2019 Apr 05.
    PMID: 30950658 DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2019.1588399
    PURPOSE: A stroke is a sudden event which may leave individuals and their families ill-prepared to deal with the resultant disability. Several contextual factors can influence the recovery process. These factors, internal and external, exist interactively in the lived experiences of the survivors. The limited availability of rehabilitation centres that are located in urban centres meant that recovery predominately occurred outside of the biomedical health and instead relied upon the resources available to individuals and their families.

    METHODS: A qualitative approach with data from in-depth interviews and observations were used to identify contextual factors that shaped recovery following stroke in a community. Twenty-seven individuals with stroke were drawn from a health and demographic surveillance system in Malaysia.

    RESULTS: Hope and optimism, coping strategies, motivation and support from family and friends, and the use of alternative and complementary medicine shaped the process of recovery within a context where infrastructure is extremely limited.

    CONCLUSION: The identification of factors that facilitate the recovery process provides a background in which health care providers can utilise to improve their understanding of the stroke experience. Such understanding could be instrumental in aiding health professionals to offer the most effective help to their clients. Implications for rehabilitation Identification of contextual factors provides a background for the understanding of the stroke experience. Incorporation of religion into rehabilitation could support and maintain hope in recovery for the survivors and aid acceptance. A collaboration of healthcare professionals with traditional medicine therapists may prove beneficial for the rehabilitation of stroke survivors in Malaysia.

  5. Allotey PA, Diniz S, Dejong J, Delvaux T, Gruskin S, Fonn S
    Reprod Health Matters, 2011 Nov;19(38):56-68.
    PMID: 22118142 DOI: 10.1016/S0968-8080(11)38577-1
    This paper addresses the challenges faced in mainstreaming the teaching of sexual and reproductive health and rights into public health education. For this paper, we define sexual and reproductive health and rights education as including not only its biomedical aspects but also an understanding of its history, values and politics, grounded in gender politics and social justice, addressing sexuality, and placed within a broader context of health systems and global health. Using a case study approach with an opportunistically selected sample of schools of public health within our regional contexts, we examine the status of sexual and reproductive health and rights education and some of the drivers and obstacles to the development and delivery of sexual and reproductive health and rights curricula. Despite diverse national and institutional contexts, there are many commonalities. Teaching of sexual and reproductive health and rights is not fully integrated into core curricula. Existing initiatives rely on personal faculty interest or short-term courses, neither of which are truly sustainable or replicable. We call for a multidisciplinary and more comprehensive integration of sexual and reproductive health and rights in public health education. The education of tomorrow's public health leaders is critical, and a strategy is needed to ensure that they understand and are prepared to engage with the range of sexual and reproductive health and rights issues within their historical and political contexts.
  6. Allotey PA, Reidpath DD, Evans NC, Devarajan N, Rajagobal K, Bachok R, et al.
    Glob Health Action, 2015 Jan;8(1):28219.
    PMID: 28156759 DOI: 10.3402/gha.v8.28219
    Background Verbal autopsies have gained considerable ground as an acceptable alternative to medically determined cause of death. Unlike with clinical or more administrative settings for data collection, verbal autopsies require significant involvement of families and communities, which introduces important social and cultural considerations. However, there is very little clear guidance about the methodological issues in data collection. The objectives of this case study were: to explore the range of bereavement rituals within the multi-ethnic, multi-faith population of the district; to investigate the preparedness of communities to talk about death; to describe the verbal autopsy process; to assess the effects of collecting verbal autopsy data on data collectors; and to determine the most accurate sources of information about deaths in the community. Methods A case study approach was used, using focus group discussions, indepth interviews and field notes. Thematic analyses were undertaken using NVivo. Results Consideration of cultural bereavement practices is importance to acceptance and response rates to verbal autopsies. They are also important to the timing of verbal autopsy interviews. Well trained data collectors, regardless of health qualifications are able to collect good quality data, but debriefing is important to their health and well being. This article contributes to guidance on the data collection procedures for verbal autopsies within community settings.
  7. Mairami FF, Warren N, Allotey PA, Mak JS, Reidpath DD
    Disabil Rehabil, 2020 01;42(1):102-113.
    PMID: 30183424 DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2018.1493544
    Purpose: Stroke is an abrupt event that often leaves survivors with long term disabilities, causing role changes, and financial strains on households. The profound impact of stroke on survivors may lead to a decline in quality of life due to the physical, psychological, and social difficulties they experience. Taking Malaysia as an example, this study aimed to explore the impact of stroke on survivors and how health services influence their recovery in low and middle-income countries (LMIC).Method: An ethnographic approach with data obtained primarily through in-depth interviews was used. Twenty-seven participants identified as having suffered a stroke were drawn from a health and demographic surveillance system in Malaysia.Results: The physical and social disruption of the lives of stroke survivors was intensified by the resultant financial constraints placed upon individuals, families and households, compounded by inadequate support from the health, and welfare systems. Despite the disruption to their lives, most participants were, at least in part, able to reestablish their lives through various factors that include a strong family support and active coping strategies.Conclusion: In LMIC, recovery can be shaped by the family unit and through active coping strategies especially those in relation to spirituality.Implications for rehabilitationThe impact of stroke on survivors and lack of specialized stroke care compromise the recovery process and quality of life for stroke survivors in low and middle-income countries.Support from the family and reinforcement of religious coping were judged to successfully aid recovery.Physical and emotional impairments as well as psychosocial wellbeing of survivors in the context of environmental factors need to be addressed.
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