Case Study

The experiences and challenges faced by rehabilitation community service therapists within the South African Primary Healthcare health system

Lieketseng Ned, Lizahn Cloete, Gubela Mji
African Journal of Disability | Vol 6 | a311 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v6i0.311 | © 2017 Lieketseng Ned, Lizahn Cloete, Gubela Mji | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 September 2016 | Published: 26 September 2017

About the author(s)

Lieketseng Ned, Centre for Rehabilitation Studies, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Lizahn Cloete, Division of Occupational Therapy, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Gubela Mji, Centre for Rehabilitation Studies, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Twenty-two years after the promulgation of a plethora of progressive health policies since 1994, the South African public health system reflects a number of stumbling blocks regarding implementation. Rehabilitation professionals are not sufficiently equipped nor allowed the opportunity to comprehensively implement Primary Healthcare (PHC) from a bottom-up approach, thus engaging communities. Training on addressing social health determinants and their impact on ill-health and health outcomes is inadequate. The inadequate understanding of the advocacy role that rehabilitation professionals could play in addressing social health determinants remains a challenge in healthcare. Rehabilitation, a pillar of PHC, remains poorly understood in terms of its role within the health system.
Aim: We argue for rehabilitation as a vehicle for addressing social determinants of health with community service practitioners playing a critical role in addressing the inequities within the healthcare package.
Setting: The article reflects the opportunities and challenges faced by rehabilitation community service therapists in the delivery of rehabilitation services in a rural area of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
Methods: A single case study from the perspective of a researcher was used to explore the experience and reflection of the first author during her community service as an occupational therapist.
Results: The case study highlights some existing gaps within the delivery of rehabilitation services in the rural Eastern Cape. A community service package with a specific approach towards addressing social determinants of health for persons with disability at a community level is suggested.
Conclusion: Advocating for a rehabilitation service package to shift to community-based levels is critical. It is envisaged that a community-based approach will facilitate an understanding of the barriers faced by persons with disabilities as constituting disability, thus facilitating learning about the disabling consequences of the rural environment coupled with the system as experienced by persons with disabilities.

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Crossref Citations

1. Health system challenges affecting rehabilitation services in South Africa
Linzette Deidré Morris, Karen Anne Grimmer, Asterie Twizeyemariya, Marisa Coetzee, Dominique Claire Leibbrandt, Quinette Abegail Louw
Disability and Rehabilitation  first page: 1  year: 2019  
doi: 10.1080/09638288.2019.1641851