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Professor Bertha Ochieng

Job: Professor of integrated health and social care

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Nursing and Midwifery

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (01)116 2078973



Personal profile

Bertha Ochieng is Professor of Integrated Health and Social Care at De Montfort University. She has extensive experience of health and social care provision as a clinician, an academic and as a researcher working with community groups and health and social care providers. Her academic and research focus is on improving health and social care through the provision of high quality education and research that provides positive results to marginalised and social disadvantage populations throughout the life span. Bertha’s strengths are in developing solutions for addressing the health and social care needs of socially disadvantaged populations and building relationships with community groups and practitioners in the health and social care sector. Her work has resulted in collaborations with diverse teams, comprising of, voluntary sector organisations, academics, NHS Trusts and social care teams locally, nationally and internationally. Her research portfolio includes three broad themes:

  • Community empowerment and engagement to enable the voices of marginalised and socially disadvantaged populations to be heard in the planning and delivery of services. Examples of work in this area: Migrants families - barriers with accessing and utilising health promotion services in the UK; examining multi-ethnic parents’ views on healthy eating practices for children, Black and minority ethnic young people and their families’ experiences and views on healthy lifestyles.

  • Engaging health and social care providers to identify framework that supports development of integrated models of health and social care to manage long-term non-communicable diseases such as incorporating digital solutions in health and social care, identification of cultural sensitive health promotion models for prevention and self-management of lifestyle related illnesses; examples of work include: Using smart-home sensors with older adults with long-term complex multi-morbidity; working with health practitioners to develop an evidence-based training tool for weight management

  • Service development and knowledge transfer activities to enable health and social care workforce deliver high quality care. Examples of projects she has led include: community health practitioners experiences of using telephone triage; practice nurse development programme to manage patients in the community with long-term conditions, examining the impact of continuing professional development on healthcare outcomes; 

Research group affiliations

  • Nursing and Midwifery
  • Social science
  • Public policy
  • Health sciences

Publications and outputs

  • Advance Care Planning for older people: The influence of ethnicity, religiosity, spirituality and health literacy
    Advance Care Planning for older people: The influence of ethnicity, religiosity, spirituality and health literacy de Vries, Kay; Banister, E.; Harrison Dening, K.; Ochieng, B. Older people from cultural and ethnic minorities have low access to palliative or end-of-life care and there is poor uptake of Advance Care Planning by this group across a number of countries where Advance Care Planning is promoted. For many, religiosity, spirituality and health literacy are significant factors that influence how they make end-of-life decisions. Health literacy issues have been identified as one of the main reasons for a communication gaps between physicians and their patients in discussing end-of-life care, where poor health literacy, particularly specific difficulty with written and oral communication often limits their understanding of clinical terms such as diagnoses and prognoses. This then contributes to health inequalities given it impacts on their ability to use their moral agency to make appropriate decisions about end-of-life care and complete their Advance Care Plans. Currently, strategies to promote Advance Care Planning seem to overlook engagement with religious communities. Consequently, policy makers, nurses, medical professions, social workers and even educators continue to shape Advance Care Planning programmes within the context of a medical model. The ethical principle of justice is a useful approach to responding to inequities; and to promote older peoples’ ability to enact moral agency in making such decisions. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
  • Understanding healthcare self-referral in Nigeria from the service users’ perspective: a qualitative study of Niger State
    Understanding healthcare self-referral in Nigeria from the service users’ perspective: a qualitative study of Niger State Koce, Francis; Randhawa, Gurch; Ochieng, B. Background: The distortion of the pyramidal structure of the healthcare delivery system due to by-passing the primary level of care to the referral facilities has continued to raise concerns for the healthcare delivery system. About 60-90% of patients in Nigeria are reported to self-refer to a referral level of care. Thus, this study sought to identify the factors that influence service-users’ decision to self-refer to the secondary healthcare facilities in Nigeria by exploring the perceptions and experiences of the service-users. Methods: Twenty-four self-referred service-users were interviewed from three selected secondary healthcare facilities (general hospitals) in Niger state, Nigeria. The interviews were tape-recorded, each lasting 20 minutes on average. This was subsequently transcribed verbatim and framework analysis was employed for the analysis. Results: Various reasons were identified to have resulted in the bypass of the primary healthcare facilities in favour of the secondary level of care. The identified themes were organised based on the predisposing, enabling and need component of Andersen’s model. These themes included: patients understanding of the healthcare delivery system; perceptions about the healthcare providers; perceptions about healthcare equipment/ facilities; advice from relatives and friends; service-users’ expectations; access to healthcare facilities; regulations/ policies; medical symptoms; perceptions of severity of medical symptoms. Conclusions: The findings from this study call for an evaluation of the current healthcare referral system, particularly in developing settings like Nigeria and consequently the need for developing a contextual model as applicable to individual settings. Therefore, a multifaceted approach is needed to address the current concerns to ensure patients utilise the appropriate level of care. This will ensure the primary healthcare facilities are not undermined and allow the referral levels of care to live up to their mandate. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
  • Smart tattoo: technology for monitoring blood glucose in the future
    Smart tattoo: technology for monitoring blood glucose in the future Meetoo, D.; Wong, Louise; Ochieng, B. New ways of measuring blood glucose bring hope of easing the burden of diabetes management for patients living with the conditions. The smart tattoo is an innovation that represents a nascent nanotechnology, which is designed to be implanted within the skin to provide continuous and reliable glucose detection for individuals diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. The potential benefits of the smart tatto are compelling not only due to the potential of these nanodevices to prevent diabetic complications and decrease the related social costs, but also due to ease of use and relative user comfort. However, despite the advantages of the smart tattoo, it is important that health professionals, in embracing nanotechnology, understand the ethical implications of using these innovative devices. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Safeguarding of vulnerable adults training: assessing the effect of continuing professional development
    Safeguarding of vulnerable adults training: assessing the effect of continuing professional development Ochieng, B.; Ward, K. Aim This article provides an insight into the effect of safeguarding of vulnerable adults continuing professional development (SOVA-CPD) training for nurses. Method 51 participants were recruited from three different cohorts of SOVA-CPD training that had been delivered in east England. A 50-item questionnaire was designed to gather participants’ views on their acquisition of knowledge and skills, and perceived changes in practice, and to allow them to describe how they have changed how they work due to the training. Results Participants agreed overwhelmingly that the SOVA-CPD had enhanced their competency and skills so that their patients’ care could improve. However, despite the benefits that some participants described, the potential positive effects of SOVA-CPD were curtailed by the challenges participants experienced in making changes in their practice settings. Conclusion The study highlights several benefits of SOVA-CPD for nurses, including the benefits to patient care of a CPD learning environment for practitioners. It suggests that employers should provide environments in which staff who have undertaken SOVA-CPD can trigger and sustain changes to improve patient care. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Sexual health beliefs among minority ethnic families in the north of England
    Sexual health beliefs among minority ethnic families in the north of England Ochieng, B.; Meetoo, D. The purpose of this study was to explore beliefs and attitudes regarding sexual health among minority ethnic families. Focus group discussions with a convenience sample from a black African community comprising 32 adults (38–58 years of age) were undertaken. The group discussions were recorded, transcribed and analysed for themes. The findings were analysed using descriptive analysis and a variation of the constant comparative method. Primary themes included the participants’ understanding of the concept of sexual health; an insight into sexual health discourse in the home; and the need for culturally appropriate sexual health promotion. This study contributes to our knowledge of black African parents’ views on sexual health. It adds to previous literature on sexual health, gives voice to minority parents and their adolescent children, and highlights the importance of social norms, family and cultural values on sexual health.
  • Self-monitoring of blood glucose: Is it justified?
    Self-monitoring of blood glucose: Is it justified? Meetoo, D.; Ochieng, B.; Wong, L.; Fatani, T. Despite the availability of robust evidence demonstrating that lowering glycaemic levels reduces the risks of diabetes-related complications, there has been little improvement in recent years in glycaemic control among individuals with diabetes in Europe and the US. Although widely used, there has been considerable controversy surrounding the role of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) as a means of achieving glycaemic control. This has resulted in a re-consideration of the prescription of blood glucose strips especially in the current climate of health care cost-containment. Existing clinical recommendations lack specific guidance to patients and health professionals regarding SMBG practice intensity and frequency, particularly for those not treated with insulin. Previous studies of the association between SMBG and glycaemic control found often weak, and sometimes conflicting, evidence. More rigorous longitudinal studies are needed to examine the role of SMBG with special attention to the unique needs of patients using different diabetes treatments, within special clinical sub-populations, and during initiation of SMBG versus its ongoing use. Further understanding of the intensity and frequency of SMBG are also needed to capture variability in glycaemic patterns in order to facilitate more specific guideline development.
  • Spirituality and the Black community: criminality, victimisation and wellbeing
    Spirituality and the Black community: criminality, victimisation and wellbeing Ochieng, B.
  • Using mixed methods when researching communities
    Using mixed methods when researching communities Ochieng, B.; Meetoo, D. Aim To argue for the use of mixed methods when researching communities. Background Although research involving minority communities is now advanced, not enough effort has been made to formulate methodological linkages between qualitative and quantitative methods in most studies. For instance, the quantitative approaches used by epidemiologists and others in examining the wellbeing of communities are usually empirical. While the rationale for this is sound, quantitative findings can be expanded with data from in-depth qualitative approaches, such as interviews or observations, which are likely to provide insights into the experiences of people in those communities and their relationships with their wellbeing. Review methods An iterative process of identifying eligible literature was carried out by comprehensively searching electronic databases. Discussion Using mixed methods approaches is likely to address any potential drawbacks of individual methods by exploiting the strengths of each at the various stages of research. Combining methods can provide additional ways of looking at a complex problem and improve the understanding of a community’s experiences. However, it is important for researchers to use the different methods interactively during their research. Conclusion The use of qualitative and quantitative methods is likely to enrich our understanding of the interrelationship between wellbeing and the experiences of communities. This should help researchers to explore socio-cultural factors and experiences of health and healthcare practice more effectively.
  • Deep venous thrombosis: an underestimated threat.
    Deep venous thrombosis: an underestimated threat. Meetoo, D.; Ochieng, B.; Fatani, T. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a clinical term used to describe the formation of a stationary blood clot (thrombus) in a large vein in the leg or the pelvis, causing partial or complete blockage of the circulation. DVT is a significant health and social care problem, costing approximately £640 million per annum to manage. Each year over 25 000 people in England die from this condition contracted in hospital. Early recognition and the subsequent accurate diagnosis of DVT is, therefore, extremely important to prevent potentially fatal acute complication of pulmonary embolism (PE). It is therefore crucial for peri-operative practitioners to have a sound grasp of DVT and PE together with its management to prevent related complications. Furthermore, as part of the clinical team, they need to check that appropriate thrombo-prophylaxis has been prescribed for every patient.
  • The effectiveness of HIV/AIDS school-based sexual health education programmes in Nigeria: A systematic review
    The effectiveness of HIV/AIDS school-based sexual health education programmes in Nigeria: A systematic review Amaugo, L.; Papadopoulos, C; Ochieng, B.; Ali, Nasreen HIV/AIDS is one of the most important public health challenges facing Nigeria today. Recent evidence has revealed that the adolescent population make up a large proportion of the 3.7% reported prevalence rate among Nigerians aged 15–49 years. School-based sexual health education has therefore become an important tool towards fighting this problem. This systematic review assesses the efficacy of these educational programmes and examines how future programmes and their evaluations can improve. Primary literature published between January 2002 and May 2012, which measured sexual health outcomes among school-based Nigerians before and after a sexual health education programme was delivered, was identified. All seven studies that met the inclusion and exclusion criteria showed there had been positive changes in outcomes following these educational programmes. These included increased knowledge, healthier attitudes and safer sexual health behaviour. However, these studies each had methodological flaws which highlighted a range of important design, implementation and evaluation challenges that future programmes need to meet.

Click here to view a full listing of Bertha Ochieng's publications and outputs from 2010

Research interests/expertise

  • Access and utilization of health and social care services,
  • Concepts of health and wellbeing
  • Diabetes and long-term disease self-management
  • Inequalities in health and social care,
  • Parenting styles and early child rearing
  • Self-care strategies in health and social care
  • Socially disadvantaged populations and immigrant health
  • Mixed methods
  • Qualitative methodologies
  • Service development
  • Systematic reviews
  • User and carer experiences/perspectives of health and social care

Areas of teaching

  • Health promotion
  • Public health
  • Systematic review
  • Research methodologies
  • Working with communities to improve health 


  • Post-graduate Certificate in Leadership and Management in Higher Education, University of Bradford.
  • PhD, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds.
  • MSc Health Education Health Promotion; Leeds Metropolitan University.
  • Post-graduate Certificate in Education; University of Huddersfield.
  • MA Development Studies; University of Leeds.
  • BSc (Hons); Leeds.

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy (UK)
  • Nursing & Midwifery Council (UK)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health (UK)
  • Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health (European association)
  • Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (Leeds)

Conference attendance

  • 2016: Diabetes care pathway: an analysis of self-management, 9th European Public Health Conference, Vienna
  • 2016Spirituality and meditation as mediating factors in Black families wellbeing. Mental Health and Cultural Diversity International Conference, Leicester.
  • 2014: Welfare systems and wellbeing: exploration of Black Families' Experiences and Beliefs, Ninth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
  • 2012: Health literacy and access to health and social welfare services. Seventh International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Conference, Universidada Abat Oliba CEU, Barcelona Spain.
  • 2012: Community group actions: their emergence, maintenance and continuance. Seventh International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Conference, Universidada Abat Oliba CEU, Barcelona Spain.
  • 2010: Spirituality as a mediating factor in Black families beliefs and experiences of health and wellbeing. Interdisciplinary Social Sciences conference, University of Cambridge, Cambridge. 
  • 2010: Minority ethnic families and the challenges to practice a healthy lifestyle. 8th European Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Nurses’, Pathos, Cyprus.

Consultancy work

Professor Ochieng provides consultancy for a range of health and social care organisations. Her portfolio of activities includes specialist staff training on service development, user and family involvement, and ethnicity and cultural perspectives.