Original Research

Communities’ views, attitudes and recommendations on community-based education of undergraduate Health Sciences students in South Africa: A qualitative study

Langalibalele H. Mabuza, Paula Diab, Stephen J. Reid, Busisiwe E. Ntuli, Penelope S. Flack, Ratie Mpofu, Priscilla S. Daniels, Tracy-Ann Adonis, Mandisa Cakwe, Mugambi W. Karuguti, Ngkatiseng Molefe
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a456 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v5i1.456 | © 2013 Langalibalele H. Mabuza, Paula Diab, Stephen J. Reid, Busisiwe E. Ntuli, Penelope S. Flack, Ratie Mpofu, Priscilla S. Daniels, Tracy-Ann Adonis, Mandisa Cakwe, Mugambi W. Karuguti, Ngkatiseng Molefe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 May 2012 | Published: 11 June 2013

About the author(s)

Langalibalele H. Mabuza, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, University of Limpopo, South Africa
Paula Diab, Department of Rural Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Stephen J. Reid, Primary Health Care, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Busisiwe E. Ntuli, Department of Public Health, University of Limpopo, South Africa
Penelope S. Flack, Community Engagement Unit, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Ratie Mpofu, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western, South Africa
Priscilla S. Daniels, Community Engagement Unit, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Tracy-Ann Adonis, Community Engagement Unit, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Mandisa Cakwe, Centre for Rural Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Mugambi W. Karuguti, Community Engagement Unit, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Ngkatiseng Molefe, Centre for Rural Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Medical and Health Sciences students in South Africa undertake community-based education (CBE). Health professionals based at host sites are jointly responsible for training of these students in conjunction with university staff. This study explored the communities’ views, attitudes and recommendations regarding CBE undertaken by these students, in order to improve the qualityof community support for these programmes.

Method: A qualitative descriptive study was conducted at CBE placement sites of students from the Faculties of Health Sciences of the University of Limpopo (UL), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and University of the Western Cape (UWC) during 2010 and 2011. Focus group discussions were held with site facilitators, community leaders and patients, and interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and translated into English where necessary. Data were analysed using NVivo (version 9).

Findings: CBE was seen to benefit communities, students and host institutions as there was perceived improvement of service delivery, better referral to hospitals and reduction of workloads on site staff.CBE was also seen as having potential for recruiting professionals who have better orientation tothe area, and for motivating school pupils for a career in health sciences. Students acquired practicalskills and gained confidence and experience. Challenges included poor communication between universities and host sites, burden of student teaching on site facilitators, cultural and religious sensitivity of students and language barriers.

Conclusion: The study revealed that communities have an important role to play in the CBE offuture health care professionals. CBE activities could be better organised and managed through formalised partnerships.


Keywords

community based education; students; site facilitators; community leaders; patients; placement sites.

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