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Neelam Saleem Punjani

Karachi, Pakistan

Objective
The study aimed to determine the reproductive health related concerns among the female population availing the services of one of the call centers in Karachi, Pakistan. This study also intended to determine the, frequency of calls, self versus surrogate callers (husband or mothers in law calling on behalf of patient), the age of the callers, the level of care provided and the shift timings of the calls. Moreover, this study also aimed to identify the recommendations, advice, and triaging given to the callers.


Methodology
A descriptive, retrospective study was conducted to analyze women’s reproductive health related calls received in two yearsfrom January 01 2012 to December 31 2013 at Aman Foundation telehealth call center Karachi, Pakistan.The collected data of calls received at Aman foundation call center were used by the researcher. Call records of the patients were reviewed; and women reproductive health related symptoms were then extracted from the list and the received data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.


Results
The analysis of data revealed that 303 calls were related to women’s reproductive health symptoms, out of which majority of the calls were surrogate calls (60.1%). Moreover, most of the calls were received in the morning shift (46.2%) and the mean call duration was 12.25 minutes. This study also revealed that the highest frequency of calls were related to pregnancy (26.1%), followed by urinary incontinence (10.6%) and urinary tract infection (7.9%). The findings indicated that most of the calls were effectively answered by qualified nurses (73.6%) with the use of algorithms and disease summaries. The study findings showed that majority of the callers (73.9%) were provided self-care instructions or health information from the algorithms for women’s reproductive health concerns.


Conclusion
The findings of the study revealed the common reproductive health issues amongst the female population availingthe services of one of the call centers in Karachi, Pakistan. It is well established from the study that pregnancy-related issues are predominant among the female population of Karachi. The health care providers particularly call center agents, health educators, policy makers, and researchers need to acknowledge that in the South Asian region, women’s reproductive health concerns are highly prevalent and patients’ access to call centers is increasing day by day. The study also suggests that call centres are experiencing an increasing demand for advice about women’s reproductive health concerns. An in-depth knowledge of socio-demographic trends and women’s reproductive health symptoms can help call centres to work on software development, staffing and training to meet the increasing demand for telephone advice.