Original Research

South African stakeholders’ knowledge of community-based rehabilitation

Sarah Rule, Anton Roberts, Pamela McLaren, Susan Philpott
African Journal of Disability | Vol 8 | a484 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v8i0.484 | © 2019 Sarah Rule, Anton Roberts, Pamela McLaren, Susan Philpott | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 January 2018 | Published: 25 September 2019

About the author(s)

Sarah Rule, Disability Innovation Africa, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Anton Roberts, CBR Education and Training for Empowerment (CREATE), Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Pamela McLaren, Disability Action Research Team (DART), Howick, South Africa
Susan Philpott, School of Education, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) is a complex concept and strategy that has been implemented in diverse ways globally and in South Africa. Internationally, some stakeholders have described CBR as confusing, and this may influence implementation. A southern African study reports that there is insufficient evidence of the understanding of CBR in the region to influence training, policy and practice.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate South African stakeholders’ knowledge of CBR.

Method: This article reports on an electronic survey that was part of a larger mixed methods study. Based on the sample of 86 respondents, descriptive statistics were used to analyse the quantitative data and thematic analysis for the qualitative data.

Results: The majority of respondents had had exposure to CBR, but almost a quarter had no knowledge of the CBR guidelines and matrix. The results revealed varying knowledge concerning the key concepts of CBR, its beneficiaries and its funders. Respondents identified persons with disabilities as having a central role in the implementation of CBR. Problems with the visibility of CBR programmes were noted, as well as misunderstandings by many therapists.

Conclusion: The implementation of CBR, and its goal of ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities, is negatively affected by the confusion attached to the understanding of what CBR is. The misunderstandings about, and lack of visibility of, CBR in South Africa may hinder its growing implementation in the country in line with new government policies.


community-based rehabilitation; disability inclusive development; survey; South Africa; role of persons with disabilities


Total abstract views: 2955
Total article views: 3904


Crossref Citations

1. A Situational Mapping Overview of Training Programmes for Community-Based Rehabilitation Workers in Southern Africa: Strategies for Strengthening Accessible Rural Rehabilitation Practice
Lieketseng Ned, Ritika Tiwari, Lucia Hess-April, Theresa Lorenzo, Usuf Chikte
Frontiers in Public Health  vol: 8  year: 2020  
doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.569279