“It's all about cultural understanding”: A reflexive thematic analysis of women's experiences at a dedicated refugee midwifery group practice service

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Abstract

Background: Inequitable maternity care provision in high-income countries contributes to ongoing poor outcomes for women of refugee backgrounds. To address barriers to quality maternity care and improve health equity, a co-designed maternity service incorporating community-based group antenatal care, onsite social worker and interpreters, continuity of midwifery carer through a caseload design with 24/7 phone access was implemented for women of refugee background. 

Objective: To explore and describe women's experiences and perceptions of care from a dedicated Refugee Midwifery Group Practice service. 

Design: Qualitative exploratory descriptive study using focus group discussions and interpreters. Setting: The study was conducted at a community-based Refugee Midwifery Group Practice service in a tertiary maternity hospital in Brisbane, Australia. 

Methods: We conducted three focus group discussions (June - December 2020) with 16 women, born in six different countries, in three language groups: Sudanese Arabic, Somali, and English. We used reflexive thematic analysis to interpret women's perspectives and generate informed meanings of experiences of care. 

Results: We generated four themes 1) accessibility of care, 2) women feeling accepted, 3) value of relationality, and 4), service expansion and promotion. Results demonstrate positive experiences and acceptability due to easy access, strong woman-midwife relationships, and culturally safe care. 

Conclusion: The service addressed concerns raised in an early evaluation and provides evidence that redesigning maternity services to meet the needs of women with a refugee background speaking multiple languages from many countries is possible and promotes access, use, and satisfaction with care, contributing to improved health equity and perinatal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-418
Number of pages9
JournalWomen and Birth
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the Australian Government Research Training Program , Molly Wardaguga Research Centre , Charles Darwin University and Catholic Care.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors

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