What women want: A mixed-methods study of women’s health priorities, preferences, and experiences in care in three Rwandan rural districts

A.J. Adler, T. Randall, L.N. Schwartz, L. Drown, S. Matthews, L.E. Pace, C. Mugabo, F. Kateera, G. Bukhman, E. Baganizi, L.M. Ng’ang’a

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Objective: To explore Rwandan women’s experiences, priorities, and preferences in accessing health care for non-pregnancy-related conditions and inform development of healthcare services related to these conditions among women of reproductive age at district hospitals and health centers in Rwanda.

Results: Seventeen interviews and 150 surveys were conducted. Women identified conditions including back pain, gynecologic cancers, and abnormal vaginal bleeding as concerns. They generally reported positive experiences while accessing health care and knowledge of accessing health care. Barriers to care were identified, including transpor- tation costs and inability to miss work. Women expressed a desire for more control over their care and the importance of maintaining their dignity while accessing health care.

Conclusion: The reported end-user health concerns, barriers to care, and diminished control over their care point to a need to evolve health systems around user-tailored needs and design interventions optimizing access whilst promoting dignified care.