UKZN Student Wins Award for Social Science Poster
PhD student Ms Yolandie Kriel has won the Discovery Award for the best Social Science poster at the SA AIDS 2015 conference.
Kriel’s winning entry was titled: "Continuous Access to the Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) Programme: Understanding Barriers to Retention in Care from the Patients’ Perspectives."
Kriel’s poster is based on the work she did for her masters degree, in which she examined access to the ART programme in the public health care system and what barriers could result when people left the programme.
Supervised by Internal Medicine Head of Department (HoD), Dr Nombulelo Magula, and Dr Susan de la Porte from Anthropology, Kriel highlighted that factors such as poor administration, loss of files, monthly visits, long waiting times, and poor quality of service from staff in the health care setting could lead to patients leaving the ART programme.
‘All of these factors result in an increase in the amount of people in facilities which further compounds bottlenecks in the system, compromising patients’ satisfaction. The perspective of the patients provided unique insight into the everyday lived experiences within the public ART programme,’ explained Kriel.
She said the award came as a surprise. ‘I was happy to receive the accolade, but very surprised.’
Numerous factors were highlighted in the study that could result in people disengaging form the programme. She explored four major barriers: physical, organisational, socio-cultural, and economic barriers.
‘Of particular interest to me were the organisational barriers that can result in dissatisfaction with the service, and as a result disengagement from the programme. This is especially important in light of the rapidly expanding ART programme. These issues will have to be addressed if we want to achieve the targets set out by the national Department of Health.’
She is currently focusing on her PhD project in Public Health at UKZN where she continues to investigate access and retention in the ART programme. She will be piloting an alternative model for retention in the ART programme under the supervision of Professor Fatima Suleman and Dr Magula as her co-supervisor.
She is currently a researcher at the Maternal, Adolescent and Child Health (MatCH) Research Unit which is part of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of the Witwatersrand where she is investigating adherence to microbicides as HIV prevention strategies.