Evaluation of household assessment data collected by community health workers in Cape Town, South Africa

Mash, Robert ; Du Pisanie, Louiso ; Swart, Carla ; Van der Merwe, Ella (2020)

CITATION: Mash, R. 2020. Evaluation of household assessment data collected by community health workers in Cape Town, South Africa. South African Family Practice, 62(1):a5168, doi:10.4102/safp.v62i1.5168.

The original publication is available at http://www.safpj.co.za

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund


Background: South Africa has implemented ward-based outreach teams as part of re-engineering primary health care with teams of community health workers (CHWs). In Cape Town, such a community-orientated primary care (COPC) approach was developed at four learning sites. Community health workers registered and assessed the households they were responsible for, but a year later the data were not analysed or converted into useful information. The aim was to analyse the household data and evaluate its contribution to a community diagnosis, its quality and any implications for the performance of CHWs. Methods: This article used descriptive secondary analysis of household data collected by CHWs at three COPC learning sites in Cape Town (Nomzamo, Eastridge and Mamre). Results: Data were analysed for 16 852 people from Eastridge, 1338 people from Mamre and 1008 people from Nomzamo. Data were compared in terms of household composition and demographics, type of dwelling, identification of people on treatment for chronic conditions, identification of health risks (e.g. tuberculosis symptoms, tobacco smoking, missed immunisations, missed vitamin A prophylaxis, need for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing or family planning, pregnant or postnatal, and wound care) and for referrals. Conclusion: Household assessment visits have great potential. Data collected is currently of poor quality, inconsistent or not captured, infrequently analysed and not comprehensive. There is a need to introduce an electronic m-health solution to assist the health information system, to revise the contents of the household assessment form and to ensure that CHWs are competent to identify risks and respond appropriately.

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