New Model of Care for HIV Rehabilitation Develops from PhD
A first-of-its-kind model of care for the rehabilitation of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in South Africa is being implemented at Mariannhill near Durban where UKZN Physiotherapy Lecturer, Dr Verusia Chetty, conducted research for her PhD.
The study was funded by the South African Medical Research Council National Health Scholarship Programme.
According to Chetty, rehabilitation professionals have seen a surge in the need to address the disabling effects of HIV, its comorbidities and anti-retroviral therapy. ‘These needs raised the question of what model of care could feasibly address these challenges and integrate rehabilitation into the response to HIV. The aim of this study was to develop a model of care that addresses the new rehabilitation related needs of PLHIV within a health care setting.’
The model has already received positive feedback from all stakeholders within the study setting at Marriannhill, including PLHIV. Experts agreed that improving access to care, optimal communication between all stakeholders, education and training for health care workers and home-based rehabilitation were essential for the model. Furthermore, task-shifting and evidence based practice were seen as fundamental for optimal care.
‘The developed model was reviewed for relevance against the backdrop of policies impacting rehabilitation practice in South Africa,’ said Chetty. ‘South African legislature is enabling in its redress to change, however gaps exist in translating policy into practice. I intend on furthering the rehabilitation campaign to translate policy into practice and have more dynamism in the rehabilitation component of primary health care. ’
Chetty was flown to Pretoria to attend the launch of two prestigious 2014/15 publications after winning the Health Systems Trust’s (HST) 2015 Emerging Public Health Practitioner Award. Her thesis submission was selected as the winning chapter for 2015 receiving a cash prize and the opportunity to meet senior research staff at HST to discuss areas for future interaction and collaboration.
‘To have been selected as the winner is an amazing accomplishment and huge step for me and good position for me to advocate for rehabilitation of PLHIV.
‘I have had exemplary supervision from Professor Myezwa at Wits University and Professor Jill Hanass-Hancock at UKZN’s Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division. Professor Hanass-Hancock has already recruited me for a post-doctoral study where we will focus on rehabilitation frameworks for children living with HIV.’
Her children have been on the PhD journey with her, she said. ‘They have showed such patience and grace toward a very busy mother. I also have a very supportive husband and extended family. I love teaching and research is what drives me.’