Original Research

The ability of health promoters to deliver group diabetes education in South African primary care

Anna S. Botes, Buyelwa Majikela-Dlangamandla, Robert Mash
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a484 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v5i1.484 | © 2013 Anna S. Botes, Buyelwa Majikela-Dlangamandla, Robert Mash | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 September 2012 | Published: 23 April 2013

About the author(s)

Anna S. Botes, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care,Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Buyelwa Majikela-Dlangamandla, Division of Diabetic Medicine and Endocrinology, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Robert Mash, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Background: Diabetes makes a significant contribution to the burden of disease in South Africa.This study assesses a group diabetes education programme using motivational interviewingin public sector health centres serving low socio-economic communities in Cape Town.The programme was delivered by mid-level health promotion officers (HPOs).

Objectives: The aim of the study was to explore the experience of the HPOs and to observetheir fidelity to the educational programme.Methods: Three focus group interviews were held with the 14 HPOs who delivered theeducational programme in 17 health centres. Thirty-three sessions were observed directly andthe audio tapes were analysed using the motivational interviewing (MI) integrity code.

Results: The HPOs felt confident in their ability to deliver group education after receiving thetraining. They reported a significant shift in their communication style and skills. They feltthe new approach was feasible and better than before. The resource material was found to berelevant, understandable and useful. The HPOs struggled with poor patient attendance and alack of suitable space at the facilities. They delivered the majority of the content and achievedbeginning-level proficiency in the MI guiding style of communication and the use of openquestions. The HPOs did not demonstrate proficiency in active listening and continued to offersome unsolicited advice.

Conclusion: The HPOs demonstrated their potential to deliver group diabetes education despiteissues that should be addressed in future training and the district health services. Thefindings will help with the interpretation of results from a randomised controlled trial evaluatingthe effectiveness of the education.


Diabetes; health education; health promotion; motivational interviewing; group education; mid-level health workers


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