Re-engineering Primary Health Care in KZN
UKZN Masters in Nursing students recently organised a seminar titled: “The Re-Engineering of Primary HealthCare (PHC) in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.”
Attended by 4th year Nursing students, Academics and stakeholders, the student group, led by Mrs Tholi Majozi, presented on the history of PHC in South Africa, highlighting the conceptualisation of the Community Orientated Primary Care (COPC) approach as early as the 1940s in Pholela, KZN.
Majozi touched on the growing burden of disease and poor outcomes despite the relatively high level of input and investment in health.
‘The pressures of a predominantly hospital-centric health care system and emerging epidemics prevent the successful provision of quality comprehensive, integrated primary healthcare to millions of South Africans,’ said Majozi.
‘PHC has shown to improve health outcomes as seen in countries like Brazil, therefore PHC needs to redefine its focus.
‘The scope of practise of health workers, relevant education and training for new graduates should meet the service delivery needs as this will have important implications for health.’
The group discussed the importance of the re-orientation of health practitioners to a community-oriented PHC approach versus a clinical orientated practice. ‘It is important to re-orientate the public health mind-set of professional nurses and clinical specialist teams to enable them to use epidemiological data for action,’ she said.
Group member, Mrs Nana Mwelase highlighted that stakeholder involvement by departments such as the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), had assisted in most areas to deal with social determinants.
The place for mental health and traditional medicine in the re-engineered PHC curriculum and among ward-based teams was also discussed.
The group is currently doing its masters course work in nursing, specialising in Community Health supervised by the Head of Nursing, Professor Gugu Mchunu.