The identification of rural public health sanitarian competencies for developing countries Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/3f462796v

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  • The primary purpose of this study was to identify the competencies essential for effective performance as a rural public health sanitarian in developing countries. The need to identify rural sanitarian competencies in developing countries is closely related to the World Health Organization's goal of "Health for all by the year 2000," which has given impetus to Third World nations and international health agencies to seek ways of meeting the challenge of existing poor health conditions caused by improper sanitation practices and inadequate water supply. A "seed list " of eighty-eight competency statements obtained from the literature and interviews of environmental health practitioners were divided into four categories and put into questionnaire format. The four categories were: A (Administrative); B (Technical); C (Socio-cultural), and D (Human Relations). The questionnaire was validated before it was sent to a carefully-selected forty-two USA, Canadian, and Third World public health experts. The selection of the experts was based on their contributions to the field of public health and rural environmental health in Third World countries. The experts were requested to react to the competencies in terms of their appropriateness to rural environmental health problems in the Third World. A modified Delphi technique was used for the study. A t-test was employed to determine if the USA/Canadian experts differed from Third World experts in their perception of the competencies. Findings: The USA/Canadian experts differed with the Third World experts in their perception of the competencies contained within the four categories. These differences suggested a divergence of opinion between the two groups. The USA/Canadian experts in general gave low priority to Administrative and Technical competencies, while the Third World experts ranked almost all the competencies very highly. The high level of agreement for the "Socio-cultural" and "Human Relations" competencies by both expert panels reflected a growing awareness of their importance in water supply and sanitation projects in developing countries. The study recommends that the developed instrument be field-tested in a Third World country, and depending on existing socio-cultural conditions, the identified competencies should be incorporated into a rural environmental health curriculum for developing countries.
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