Melbourne School of Population and Global Health - Research Publications

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    A qualitative study of women's use of emergency contraception
    Keogh, Louise A. ( 2005)
    BACKGROUND: While the use of emergency contraception (EC) is becoming more widespread in Australia, little is known about the reasons for, and the social context of, this use. METHODS: In order to explore the use of EC from the perspective of users, a qualitative study was conducted with women presenting to one of three health care settings in Melbourne, Australia for EC. RESULTS: Thirty-two women ranging in age from 18 to 45 years were interviewed. While a number of themes were discussed with the women, this paper reports on four ‘types of users’ of EC identified from the data. ‘Controllers’ experienced failure of their contraceptive method and were very uncomfortable needing EC. They changed their contraceptive strategy in an attempt to avoid needing EC in the future. ‘Thwarted controllers’ were similar to controllers except that they could not improve their contraceptive strategy due to medical or social limitations. ‘Risk takers’ saw the use of EC as a component of their overall contraceptive strategy. They did not rely on EC regularly, but were comfortable to use it occasionally when the need arose. A final group of women were ‘caught short’ by a sexual experience that was unplanned and therefore they did not manage to use their chosen contraceptive strategy. CONCLUSIONS: The findings from this study challenge the assumptions that are often made about the users of EC and highlight the need to acknowledge the different ways that women make sense of, and make decisions about, contraception.
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    Early parenting difficulties: implications for health services policy
    Fisher, Jane ; ROWE, HEATHER ; Tattam, Amanda ( 2005)
    Australia’s residential early parenting centres are unique internationally and provide a highly valued service to parents and their very young children. Clinical practice in these services has been based on extensive experience, but now needs to be derived from an evidence base. In response to this need, Tweddle Child and Family Health Service (TCFHS) in Melbourne - a public access early parenting service - commissioned a review of literature relating to its practice and a prospective longitudinal survey of a consecutive group of mothers admitted with infants aged up to one year. This article summarises the main findings of both the literature review and the survey. Australia’s public access residential early parenting centres are a unique national resource and were established initially for the care of abandoned, relinquished or mistreated young children. Over time their purpose and function has altered to reflect social change associated with reduction in relinquishment of children for adoption, and policies that have sought to minimise removal of children from parental care. Now they focus on assisting parents to improve caretaking capacity. There are no equivalent services in any other country in the world. In general, services for parents experiencing difficulty caring for their infants in industrialised countries are based in primary health care of outreach home visiting services. Consumer satisfaction surveys indicate that parents value early parenting services highly, but as yet there is a limited evidence base to their clinical practice.
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    Internet advertising of artificial tanning in Australia
    Markovic, M (LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2006-08)
    Artificial tanning, defined as deliberate exposure to ultraviolet rays produced by artificial tanning devices, is a new and emerging public health issue in Australia and globally. Epidemiological research suggests that artificial tanning may contribute to the incidence of melanoma, nonmelanoma skin cancer as well as other health problems. Given that Australia has a high incidence of skin cancer, we have undertaken a study to explore how artificial tanning has been promoted to its users. The aim was to analyze the completeness and accuracy of information about artificial tanning. A content analysis of web sites of tanning salons and distributors of tanning equipment in Australia was conducted. A total of 22 web sites were analyzed. None of the solarium operators or distributors of equipment provided full information about the risks of artificial tanning. Fifty-nine percent of web advertisements had no information and 41% provided only partial information regarding the risks of artificial tanning. Pictures with the image of bronze-tanned bodies, predominantly women, were used by all web advertisers. In light of the success of sun-safety campaigns in Australia, the findings of future epidemiological research on the prevalence of artificial tanning and sociological and anthropological research on why people utilize artificial tanning should be a basis for developing effective targeted health promotion on the elimination of artificial tanning in the country.
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    Do Indonesian medical practitioners approve the availability of emergency contraception over-the-counter? A survey of general practitioners and obstetricians in Jakarta
    Syahlul, Dyna E. ; Amir, Lisa H. ( 2005)
    Background: Few studies have examined the attitude of medical practitioners towards the availability of emergency contraception (EC) without prescription. In Indonesia, EC (either Yuzpe regimen or Postinor-2) is available by prescription only. We aimed to examine the level of knowledge, attitudes and practices of medical practitioners in Indonesia about EC, in particular their attitudes to the availability of EC over-the-counter (OTC), using a questionnaire. Methods: Data were collected by an anonymous structured questionnaire. Questionnaires were distributed to general practitioners in 36 Community Health Centres and 25 private clinics using stratified random sampling according to area in Jakarta, and to obstetricians practicising in 24 government and private hospitals and eight private clinics in Jakarta. Two hundred and five general practitioners and 142 obstetricians and gynaecologists participated; overall response rate was 75%. Results: Although most participants were familiar with EC, only 22% received a very good knowledge score (4 or 5/5 answers correct), while 52% received a poor score (0–2/5 correct). Most participants did not support the OTC availability of EC (70%). Logistic regression identified that participants who prescribed EC had an Odds of 3.8 (95% CI 1.90, 7.73) of approving OTC EC, after adjustment for age and speciality. Conclusion: Although many organisations are working towards OTC availability of EC, it needs to be recognized and addressed that doctors who do not prescribe EC are unlikely to support the increased availability of EC.