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  • Putting risk into perspective: lessons for children and youth services from a participatory advocacy project with survivors of sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia

    Bovarnick, Silvie; Cody, Claire; ; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2021-03-26)
    While engaging survivors of sexual violence in participatory advocacy may not be new to adult services, it is less common among children and youth services that commonly prioritise “protection” over “participation”. This paper draws on monitoring and evaluation data collected from a youth advocacy project with fifteen survivors of sexual violence in Albania, Moldova and Serbia. Secondary analysis, adopting a trauma-informed lens, was undertaken on data generated through shared learning events with project partners, focus groups with project staff and workshops with the young women involved. We argue that the identified gains for participants resonate with key elements of trauma-informed responses to sexual violence, namely establishing safety and trust, empowerment, and critical reflection. Although based on work with young women, our findings are relevant to children and youth services interested in engaging survivors in advocacy. Despite the significant ethical and practical challenges, we argue that it is important to put risk into perspective and not lose sight of the potential protective benefits of participatory work for participants.
  • Factors associated with the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for reducing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a systematic review

    Regmi, Krishna; Lwin, Cho Mar; University of Bedfordshire; University of Dundee; University of Medicine Mandalay (MDPI, 2021-04-17)
    There has been much discussion recently about the importance of implementing nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to protect the public from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) infection. Different governments across the world have adopted NPIs (e.g., social distancing, quarantine, isolation, lockdowns, curfews, travel restrictions, closures of schools and colleges). Two fundamental strategies, namely a strict containment strategy—also called suppression strategy— and a mitigation strategy have been adopted in different countries, mainly to reduce the reproduction number (R) to below one and hence to reduce case numbers to low levels or eliminate humanto-human transmission, as well as to use NPIs to interrupt transmission completely and to reduce the health impact of epidemics, respectively. However, the adoption of these NPI strategies is varied and the factors impacting NPI are inconsistent and unclear. This study, therefore, aimed to review the factors associated with the implementation of NPIs (social distancing, social isolation and quarantine) for reducing COVID-19. Following PRISMA guidelines, we searched for published and unpublished studies, undertaking a systematic search of: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Allied and Complementary Medicine, COVID-19 Research, WHO database on COVID-19, and Google Scholar. Thirtythree studies were included in the study. Seven descriptive themes emerged on enablers and barriers to NPIs: the positive impact of NPIs, effective public health interventions, positive change in people’s behaviour and concerns about COVID-19, the role of mass media, physical and psychological impacts, and ethnicity/age associated with COVID-19. This study has highlighted that the effectiveness of NPIs in isolation is likely to be limited, therefore, a combination of multiple measures e.g., SD, isolation and quarantine, and workplace distancing appeared more effective in reducing COVID-19. Studies suggest that targeted approaches alongside social distancing might be the way forward, and more acceptable. Further research to promote country- and context-specific adoption of NPIs to deliver public health measures is needed. Studies comparing the effectiveness of interventions and strategies will help provide more evidence for future pandemics.
  • Improving support for breastfeeding mothers: a qualitative study on the experiences of breastfeeding among mothers who reside in a deprived and culturally diverse community

    Cook, Erica Jane; Powell, Faye; Ali, Nasreen; Penn-Jones, Catrin Pedder; Ochieng, Bertha; Randhawa, Gurch; ; University of Bedfordshire; De Montfort University (BMC, 2021-04-06)
    The United Kingdom has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe, with the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding shown to be closely related to the mothers' age, ethnicity and social class. Whilst the barriers that influence a woman's decision to breastfeed are well documented, less is known how these barriers vary by the UK's diverse population. As such, this study aimed to explore mothers' experiences of breastfeeding and accessing breastfeeding services offered locally amongst a deprived and culturally diverse community. A qualitative interpretive study comprising of 63 mothers (white British n = 8, Pakistani n = 13, Bangladeshi n = 10, black African n = 15 and Polish n = 17) who took part in single-sex focus groups, conducted in local community centres across the most deprived and ethnically diverse wards in Luton, UK. The focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically using Framework Analysis. The most common barriers to breastfeeding irrespective of ethnicity were perceptions surrounding pain and lack of milk. Confidence and motivation were found to be crucial facilitators of breastfeeding; whereby mothers felt that interventions should seek to reassure and support mothers not only during the early stages but throughout the breastfeeding journey. Mothers particularly valued the practical support provided by health care professions particularly surrounding positioning and attachment techniques. However, many mothers felt that the support from health care professionals was not always followed through. The findings presented inform important recommendations for the design and implementation of future programs and interventions targeted at reducing breastfeeding inequalities. Interventions should focus on providing mothers practical support and reassurance not only during the early stages but throughout their breastfeeding journey. The findings also highlight the need for tailoring services to support diverse communities which acknowledge different traditional and familial practices.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on health behaviour, well-being, and long-term physical health.

    McBride, Emily; Arden, Madelynne A.; Chater, Angel M.; Chilcot, Joseph; ; University College London; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Bedfordshire; King's College London (Wiley, 2021-03-31)
    Editorial
  • Overcoming hurdles to intervention studies with autistic children with profound communication difficulties and their families

    McKinney, Ailbhe; Weisblatt, Emma J.L.; Hotson, Kathryn L.; Ahmed, Zahra Bilal; Dias, Claudia; BenShalom, Dorit; Foster, Juliet; Murphy, Suzanne; Villar, Sofia S.; Belmonte, Matthew K.; et al. (Sage, 2021-04-07)
    Autistic children and adults who are non-verbal/minimally verbal or have an intellectual disability have often been excluded from Autism Spectrum Disorder research. Historical, practical and theoretical reasons for this exclusion continue to deter some researchers from work with this underserved population. We discuss why these reasons are neither convincing nor ethical, and provide strategies for dealing with practical issues. As part of a randomised controlled trial of an intervention for children with profound autism, we reflected as a multi-disciplinary team on what we had learnt from these children, their families and each other. We provide 10 strategies to overcome what appeared initially to be barriers to collecting data with this population. These hurdles and our solutions are organised by theme: interacting physically with children, how to play and test, navigating difficult behaviours, selecting suitable outcome measures, relating with parents, managing siblings, involving stakeholders, timing interactions, the clinician’s role in managing expectations, and recruitment. The aim of this article is to provide researchers with the tools to feel motivated to conduct research with children with profound autism and their families, a difficult but worthwhile endeavour. Many of these lessons also apply to conducting research with non-autistic children with intellectual disabilities.

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