Perceived appropriateness of alcohol screening and brief advice programmes in Colombia, Mexico and Peru and barriers to their implementation in primary health care - a cross-sectional survey
BACKGROUND: Providing alcohol screening and brief advice (SBA) in primary health care (PHC) can be an effective measure to reduce alcohol consumption. To aid successful implementation in an upper middle-income country context, this study investigates the perceived appropriateness of the programme and the perceived barriers to its implementation in PHC settings in three Latin American countries: Colombia, Mexico and Peru, as part of larger implementation study (SCALA).
METHODS: An online survey based on the Tailored Implementation for Chronic Diseases (TICD) implementation framework was disseminated in the three countries to key stakeholders with experience in the topic and/or setting (both health professionals and other roles, for example regional health administrators and national experts). In total, 55 respondents participated (66% response rate). For responses to both appropriateness and barriers questions, frequencies were computed, and country comparisons were made using Chi square and Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric tests.
RESULTS: Alcohol SBA was seen as an appropriate programme to reduce heavy alcohol use in PHC and a range of providers were considered suitable for its delivery, such as general practitioners, nurses, psychologists and social workers. Contextual factors such as patients' normalised perception of their heavy drinking, lack of on-going support for providers, difficulty of accessing referral services and lenient alcohol control laws were the highest rated barriers. Country differences were found for two barriers: Peruvian respondents rated SBA guidelines as less clear than Mexican (Mann-Whitney U = -18.10, P = 0.001), and more strongly indicated lack of available screening instruments than Colombian (Mann-Whitney U = -12.82, P = 0.035) and Mexican respondents (Mann-Whitney U = -13.56, P = 0.018).
CONCLUSIONS: The study shows the need to address contextual factors for successful implementation of SBA in practice. General congruence between the countries suggests that similar approaches can be used to encourage widespread implementation of SBA in all three studied countries, with minor tailoring based on the few country-specific barriers.
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