Review Article

The impact of brief quality improvement (QI) projects by medical students in primary care in Gauteng or the North West Province, South Africa

Claire van Deventer, Nontsikelelo Sondzaba
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 4, No 1 | a383 | DOI: | © 2012 Claire van Deventer, Nontsikelelo Sondzaba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 October 2011 | Published: 31 July 2012

About the author(s)

Claire van Deventer, Family Physician, Dr Kenneth Kaunda District, North West Province Department of Family Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Nontsikelelo Sondzaba, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, South Africa

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Background: The Integrated Primary Care (IPC) rotation is undertaken over six weeks by final year medical students at the University of Witwatersrand. Students are placed in either rural or urban primary health care centres based in Gauteng or the North West Province. As part of the IPC rotation, students undertake short quality improvement (QI) projects. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of the QI projects undertaken over the period stretching from 2006 to 2010.

Methods: An observational study of QI reports done by students. Project reports assessed and compared to site marks, indicators of learning assessed and individual and group marks compared.

Results: Of 274 projects undertaken, 223 (81.4%) were available for evaluation. Geographical placements and QI themes were categorised. Management issues were most frequently identified as being problematic followed by chronic illnesses. Understanding and applying the principles of QI was partially achieved and gaps were identified for future projects. The most common intervention was training of personnel and design and distribution of posters or pamphlets.

Conclusions: Most QI projects were well thought out and relevant to the chosen setting. In the majority of cases, a great deal of effort and creativity went into the process and skills other than clinical skills were employed such as writing, presentation of data in graphs and tables. Integration of theory and practice was achieved only partially.


quality improvement projects; medical students, primary care, assessment, practical interventions


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