Background: Social and environmental factors are increasingly recognized for their ability to influence health outcomes at both individual and neighborhood scales in the developing urban world. Yet issues of spatial heterogeneity in these complex environments may obscure unique elements of neighborhood life that may be protective or harmful to human health. Resident perceptions of neighborhood effects on health may help to fill gaps in our interpretation of household survey results and better inform how to plan and execute neighborhood-level health interventions. Objective: We evaluate differences in housing and socioeconomic indicators and health, environment, and neighborhood perceptions derived from the analysis of a household survey and a series of focus groups in Accra, Ghana. We then explore how neighborhood perceptions can inform survey results and ultimately neighborhood-level health interventions. Design: Eleven focus groups were conducted across a socioeconomically stratified sample of neighborhoods in Accra, Ghana. General inductive themes from the focus groups were analyzed in tandem with data collected in a 2009 household survey of 2,814 women. In-depth vignettes expand upon the three most salient emergent themes. Results: Household and socioeconomic characteristics derived from the focus groups corroborated findings from the survey data. Focus group and survey results diverged for three complex health issues: malaria, health-care access, and sense of personal agency in promoting good health. Conclusion: Three vignettes reflecting community views about malaria, health-care access, and sense of personal agency in promoting good health highlight the challenges facing community health interventions in Accra and exemplify how qualitatively derived neighborhood-level health effects can help shape health interventions.
Jankowska, M. M., Stoler, J., Ofiesh, C., Rain, D., & Weeks, J. R. (2015). Agency, access, and Anopheles: Neighborhood health perceptions and the implications for community health interventions in Accra, Ghana. Global Health Action, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.3402/gha.v8.26492