What is meant by 'community engagement'? This report looks at how we define communities and addresses barriers that some communities face when accessing health services.
There is a key focus on maternity, which seems to have specific obstacles around engagement.
The report contains a number of recommendations including:
- Understand and define 'community engagement'. Being clear about the group you are working with and the aspects of engagement you wish to use is essential for success.
- Make sure you have an authentic community: those who belong to it should identify with each other and recognise themselves as a community or group with shared activities and aspirations.
- Find and work with leaders, or those with leadership potential, in that community.
The report notes that pregnant women often become part of a community of pregnant women and new mothers. This community is separate from their usual community which might be based on family, friends, locality, faith or ethnicity.
This means that when engaging pregnant women and new mothers with healthcare services, you must consider the other communites that they might be part of.