Exploring the health knowledge carried by older Xhosa women in their home situation, with special focus on indigenous knowledge

Mji, Gubela (2013-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Rationale: Critical questions have been raised about the overcrowding of primary care services, such as community health centres (CHCs) and clinics in predominantly Xhosa-occupied areas in the Western and Eastern Cape, with clients who present with minor health ailments. Suggestions have been made about the integration and the use of the indigenous health knowledge (IHK) carried by older Xhosa women in the services as a strategy for managing minor health ailments, and as a way of encouraging appropriate health-seeking behaviour. Preliminary studies have reinforced the need for the revival of the IHK that currently is lying dormant within communities. The studies affirm that such knowledge could be an asset if integrated into, and valued by, the Western biomedical model, and could play a major role in contributing towards alleviating the problem of overcrowding in primary care (PC) services. Aim: This study primarily explored and described the IHK carried by older Xhosa women and used in the management of health problems in their home situation. Secondary recommendations were made to key stakeholders regarding the use, retainment and integration of the IHK into PC services. Method: This ethnographic, feminist and emancipatory study used qualitative methods of data collection. Thirty-six (36) older Xhosa women were purposefully selected to participate in four FGDs, to explore the IHK that they used for managing health problems in their home situation. Sixteen (16) in-depth interviews were conducted with the elite older Xhosa women and their family members to validate the findings from the four FGDs. The process of analysis and interpretation was informed by an inductive process of a combination of narrative analysis and the analysis of narratives strategies. Findings: The findings showed that the older Xhosa women possess IHK regarding the management of minor health problems within the home situation. Assessment, treatment strategies and medications were identified. Functionality and observation are mainly used to diagnose and manage illness. This approach also includes monitoring the progress, severity and recovery from illness in the patient. The findings further demonstrated that older Xhosa women were also managing illnesses that could be classified as major. They could clearly distinguish between what was health and what was illness in their village. Distance from health care services had an impact on the health-seeking behaviour of the older Xhosa women, with those closer to health care services wanting all illnesses, even those that could be classified as minor health ailments, to be managed by the health service, and those who were farther away from the hospital appearing to manage complex illnesses, and only referring clients with those illnesses to external health care services quite late. The findings further showed communication and attitudinal problems that existed between the clients and health care providers. Conclusion: Many studies have already challenged the manner in which PHC was implemented in developing countries, as it appeared to focus on the curative approach to disease and left out disease prevention and health promotion. It is within this area that the older Xhosa women appear to express the greatest concern for the health of their homes and villages. The older Xhosa women in the Eastern Cape appear to be struggling with problems of broken family units, and are left behind to struggle to keep the home together, as they lack the necessary resources to do the hard work involved with producing food and building the home and village. In the light of the promise of National Health Insurance and the revitalisation of PHC, the study proposes that the two major national health policies should take cognisance of the IHK utilised by the older Xhosa women, and that there should be a clear plan as to how the knowledge can be supported within a health care systems approach. A rural health model is proposed by the study to do this.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Rasionaal: Daar word kritiese vrae gestel oor die toeloop van mense met geringe ongesteldhede by primêre-sorg(PS)-dienste, soos gemeenskapgesondheidsentrums (GGS) en klinieke, hoofsaaklik in Xhosa-woongebiede in die Wes- en Oos-Kaap. Voorstelle is geopper dat ouer Xhosa-vroue se inheemse gesondheidskennis (IGK) by die dienste geïntegreer en benut moet word as ’n strategie om minder ernstige gesondheidsprobleme te bestuur en om mense aan te moedig om toepaslike keuses oor gesondheidshulp te maak. Voorlopige navorsing het die nodigheid bevestig dat die kundigheid wat tans onbenut in gemeenskappe lê, herontgin behoort te word. Die navorsing bevestig dat sulke kennis ’n bate kan wees indien dit as ’n gewaardeerde element by die Westerse biomediese model ingeskakel word en dat dit ’n groot rol kan speel om die druk op PS-sentrums te verlig. Doelstelling:Hierdie navorsing ondersoek en beskryf hoofsaaklik die IGK waaroor ouer Xhosa-vroue beskik en wat in die hantering van gesondheidsprobleme in hul tuisomgewing aangewend word. Aanvullende aanbevelings rakende die gebruik, behoud en integrasie van IGK by PS-dienste is aan bepalende belanghebbers voorgelê. Metode: Kwalitatiewe data-insamelingsmetodes is in hierdie etnografiese, feministiese en bevrydingsgerigte navorsing gebruik. Ses-en-dertig ouer Xhosa-vroue is spesifiek uitgesoek vir deelname aan vier fokusgroepbesprekings (FGB’s) om hul hantering van gesondheidsprobleme in hul tuisomgewing aan die hand van hul IGK te ondersoek. Sestien indringende onderhoude is met die elite- ouer Xhosa-vroue en hul gesinslede gevoer om die bevindings van die vier besprekings te bevestig. Die proses van ontleding en vertolking is gerig deur ’n induktiewe proses wat ’n kombinasie van narratiewe ontleding en die ontleding van narratiewe strategieë behels het. Bevindings: Die bevindings wys dat ouer Xhosa-vroue IGK het rakende die hantering van minder ernstige gesondheidsprobleme in die tuisomgewing. Evalueringsmetodes, behandelingstrategieë en medikasie is uitgewys. Kwale word hoofsaaklik volgens funksionaliteit en waarneming gediagnoseer en hanteer. Die werkwyse sluit in dat pasiënte se vordering, die erns van hul siekte en hul herstel gemoniteer word. Die bevindings wys verder dat ouer Xhosa-vroue ook siektetoestande hanteer wat as ernstig geklassifiseer kan word. Hulle kan duidelik tussen gesondheid en siekte in hul gemeenskap onderskei. Die afstand vanaf gesondheidsorgdienste speel ’n rol in die gedrag van ouer Xhosa-vroue wat keuses oor gesondheidshulp betref; diegene wat na aan ʼn gesondheidsorgsentrum woon, verkies dat die gesondheidsdienste alle siektes - selfs dié wat as minder ernstige gesondheidskwale geklassifiseer kan word - moet hanteer, terwyl diegene wat verder van ’n hospitaal woon, klaarblyklik self komplekse siektetoestande behandel en eers op ’n gevorderde stadium sulke kliënte na eksterne gesondheidsorgdienste verwys. Die bevindings het ook probleme rakende kommunikasie en houdingsingesteldheid tussen kliënte en gesondheidsdiensverskaffers uitgewys. Gevolgtrekking: Verskeie ondersoeke het al die manier waarop PG-sorg in ontwikkelende lande toegepas word, bevraagteken, aangesien die benadering oënskynlik op genesing fokus terwyl dit siektevoorkoming en gesondheidsvoorligting verontagsaam. Dis oor hierdie aspek dat die ouer Xhosa-vroue skynbaar die grootste kommer oor die welstand van hul huishoudings en gemeenskappe het. Die ouer Xhosa-vroue in die Oos-Kaap het klaarblyklik met dieselfde probleme van gebroke gesinne as dié in die Wes-Kaap te kampe, en word dikwels alleen agtergelaat om die huishouding te laat oorleef. Hulle kry swaar om sonder die nodige hulpbronne die harde werk te doen om voedsel te produseer en om huishoudings en die gemeenskap op te bou. In die lig van die vooruitsigte wat nasionale gesondheidsversekering en vernuwing van die PGS inhou, stel hierdie navorsingsprojek voor dat bogenoemde twee hoofelemente van die nasionale gesondheidsorgbeleid aandag skenk aan die IGK wat ouer Xhosa-vroue toepas, asook dat ’n duidelike plan uitgewerk word oor hoe hierdie kennis binne die benadering tot gesondheidsorg ondersteun kan word. Die navorsings stel ’n model vir plattelandse gesondheidsorg voor om dié doelstellings te verwesenlik.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/79978
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