Research Articles (Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health)

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    Sexual history taking : perspectives on doctor-patient interactions during routine consultations in rural primary care in South Africa
    (Oxford University Press, 2021-07) Pretorius, Deidre; Couper, Ian; Mlambo, Motlatso
    Background: Sexual history taking for risk behavior contributes to improving health outcomes in primary care. Giving the high numbers of people living with AIDS, every patient in South Africa should be offered an HIV test, which implies that a comprehensive sexual history must be taken. Aim: To describe the optimal consultation process, as well as associated factors and skills required to improve disclosure of sexual health issues during a clinical encounter with a doctor in primary health care settings in North West province, South Africa. Methods: This qualitative study, based on grounded theory, involved the video-recording of 151 consultations of adult patients living primarily with hypertension and diabetes. This article reports on the 5 consultations where some form of sexual history taking was observed. Patient consultations were analyzed thematically, which entailed open coding, followed by focused and verbatim coding using MaxQDA 2018 software. Confirmability was ensured by 2 generalist doctors, a public health specialist and the study supervisors. Main Outcome Measure: Sexual history was not taken and patients living with sexual dysfunction were missed. If patients understand how disease and medication contribute to their sexual wellbeing, this may change their perceptions of the illness and adherence patterns. Results: Sexual history was taken in 5 (3%) out of 151 consultations. Three themes emerged from these 5 consultations. In the patient-doctor relationship theme, patients experienced paternalism and a lack of warmth and respect. The consultation context theme included the seating arrangements, ineffective use of time, and privacy challenges due to interruptions and translators. Theme 3, consultation content, dealt with poor coverage of the components of the sexual health history. Conclusion: Overall, sexual dysfunction in patients was totally overlooked and risk for HIV was not explored, which had a negative effect on patients’ quality of life and long-term health outcomes. The study provided detailed information on the complexity of sexual history taking during a routine consultation and is relevant to primary health care in a rural setting.
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    The collaborative care project : a practice‑based approach to interprofessional education in a primary healthcare setting in South Africa
    (2020-04-18) Muller, Jana
    Background: There is global evidence that primary healthcare (PHC) leads to improved health outcomes. In the South Africa PHC model, the PHC team identifies healthcare needs through community visits. For health professional students to learn this PHC model requires an immersed, interprofessional community experience. Context: A select number of final year undergraduate health science students from Stellenbosch University, South Africa spend six weeks to one full year working at a rural clinical school with the focus on contextualised, transformative and interprofessional clinical training. Objective: The collaborative care project is one of the opportunities aimed at exposing students to contextual interprofessional training in a resource constrained community. Students are challenged to collaboratively find potential solutions to problems patients face using local resources, with the aim of improving patient outcomes and transforming students into collaborative change agents. Activities: Students, under the supervision of local community health workers, are tasked with conducting interprofessional home visits for discharged patients or patients identified by community members. Possible environmental, personal and health risk factors are identified and referrals made to existing community or state facilities for further management. Outcome: The collaborative care project has resulted in improved patient identification, accessibility to available resources and referral. Students recognise the value of contextualised collaborative clinical training to shape them as clinicians. Challenges and successes are shared to encourage more practical, community based opportunities for collaborative care. Reciprocal teaching and learning take place and students express a change in self‑perception, team identity and improved role clarification. Conclusion: This project creates an opportunity for students and community to improve their understanding of precipitating factors to illness, which are not often considered as routine health care and to find local solutions to problems identified.
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    Support nurses and midwives to strengthen healthcare systems
    (James Cook University, 2020-06-13) Fields, Bronwyn; Sibanda, Bongi; Couper, Ian
    Nurses and midwives make up more than half of the global health workforce1. WHO has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife2 to recognize their contribution, and to highlight the challenges they face in meeting the needs of the communities they serve. Both the International Council of Nurses’ International Nurses Day3 and the first State of the World’s Nursing report4, recently launched by the International Council of Nurses and WHO respectively, highlight the crucial role played by nurses and midwives in health promotion, disease prevention and treatment. Their role is even more important in Africa, and in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in other regions, where nurses are often the only health professionals accessible to rural and remote communities.
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    Exploration of rural physicians’ lived experience of practising outside their usual scope of practice to provide access to essential medical care (clinical courage) : an international phenomenological study
    (BMJ Publishing, 2020-08) Konkin, Jill; Grave, Laura; Cockburn, Ella; Couper, Ian; Stewart, Ruth Alison; Campbell, David; Walters, Lucie
    Objectives: Rural doctors describe consistent pressure to provide extended care beyond the limits of their formal training in order to meet the needs of the patients and communities they serve. This study explored the lived experience of rural doctors when they practise outside their usual scope of practice to provide medical care for people who would otherwise not have access to essential clinical services. Design: A hermeneutic phenomenological study. Setting: An international rural medicine conference. Participants: All doctors attending the conference who practised medicine in rural/remote areas in a predominantly English-speaking community were eligible to participate; 27 doctors were recruited. Interventions: Semi-structured interviews were conducted. The transcripts were initially read and analysed by individual researchers before they were read aloud to the group to explore meanings more fully. Two researchers then reviewed the transcripts to develop the results section which was then rechecked by the broader group. Primary outcome measure: An understanding of the lived experiences of clinical courage. Results: Participants provided in-depth descriptions of experiences we have termed clinical courage. This phenomenon included the following features: Standing up to serve anybody and everybody in the community; Accepting uncertainty and persistently seeking to prepare; Deliberately understanding and marshalling resources in the context; Humbly seeking to know one’s own limits; Clearing the cognitive hurdle when something needs to be done for your patient; Collegial support to stand up again. Conclusion: This study elucidated six features of the phenomenon of clinical courage through the narratives of the lived experience of rural generalist doctors.
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    The demographics and outcomes of burn patients admitted to Worcester Hospital
    (Medpharm, 2020-06) Blake, N.; Swart, O.; Duvenage, R. C.
    BACKGROUND: Worcester Hospital is a regional healthcare facility in the Western Cape, South Africa, without a dedicated burns unit. Currently there is limited data available of burns patient management outside of academic institutions in South Africa. To describe the incidence and demographics, and to determine the outcomes of burn patients admitted to Worcester Hospital METHODOLOGY: A retrospective descriptive study of burn patients admitted to Worcester Hospital between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017 RESULTS: A total of 66 burn patients were included in this study which accounted for 1.6% of the total surgical admissions for this time period. The mean age of the patients was 39 (SD ± 19) years with a male predominance (59%). The mechanism of burn was mostly flame burns (71%); 16 patients (24%) were burned with hot fluids and 3 patients (5%) sustained electrical burns. The median TBSA was 9% (IQR: 5-28). Ten patients (15%) required critical care unit admission. The burn patients' median length of stay was 6 days (IQR: 2-11 days) versus 2 days (IQR: 1-5 days) for non-burn general surgery patients. Fifty burn patients (76%) required surgical intervention comprising of either debridement or skin grafting, or a combination of this. Forty-four patients (67%) underwent skin grafting procedures and the median TBSA grafted was 5% (IQR: 3.5-9.5). The median time from admission to first surgical procedure was 25 hours (IQR: 18.33-51.08). The in-hospital mortality rate was 23% and of the 15 mortalities, 9 patients (60%) had TBSA of 30% or more and therefore classified as a major burn CONCLUSION: Burn injuries treated at Worcester Hospital are often severe and require significant resources. This study supplies critical information regarding the burden of burn related injuries managed at a regional level