We report the development of a strategy for obtaining a truly voluntary and informed consent for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) research with Burma-born refugees settled in Australia. Using a qualitative descriptive research design, we interviewed 29 providers of refugee services (PRS) including health care professionals (doctors, nurses, midwives), bilingual supporting staff (interpreters, social workers, settlement workers, community liaison officers) and administrative staff (practice managers, reception staff) who provide primary care services to refugees. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and subjected to thematic analysis. Four themes emerged: (a) unique values of Burma-born people, (b) unfamiliarity with Western concepts of research, (c) usefulness of individual consent discussions with potential participants, and (d) need for verification of voluntary participation prior to research interview. Results were used to develop a three-stage process of research consent. The first stage comprises of community information sessions to introduce concepts of research including explanations of voluntary participation and informed consent. Secondly, consent discussions for interested participants are undertaken with their preferred interpreter. Finally, voluntary participation is confirmed just prior to the interview. This three-stage process of research consent will serve as a useful tool for PRS to support cross cultural SRH research interactions involving interpreters and participants.
consent, sexual health research, reproductive health research, refugees, migrants, Burma, Myanmar, qualitative descriptive research
The authors profoundly thank and acknowledge the significant contribution of Melbourne Social Equity Institute, in funding the PhD student in her research initiatives. A special thanks is due to Dr Phyllis Lau and Dr Vasudha Iyengar for supporting the PhD student in her research journey. Mr. Krishan Kumar Tuteja’s vision of inclusive health is the drive behind developing a robust consent strategy before interviewing the refugee participants.
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Recommended APA Citation
Tuteja, A., Riggs, E., Sanci, L., Mascarenhas, L., Power, A., VanVliet, D., Sangster, K., McGuinness, K., & Temple-Smith, M. (2022). Developing a Sexual Health Consent Strategy for Refugees: A Qualitative Approach. The Qualitative Report, 27(2), 509-538. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2022.5158