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Health Sciences
best practice for realising the right to health. CSOs in the
Learning Network have been utilising a toolkit for training
on the Right to Health to raise awareness and to empower
community members to claim their health rights.
A key part of the programme in 2012 focused on community
participation as a strategy for the realisation of the right to
health. This work followed the release of the results of
a two year research project by the Learning Network in
the Cape Town Metropole focusing on the challenges
faced by health committees as the formal structures for
community participation in health. The project secured two
large grants for continued work with Health Committees
to enhance community participation as a vehicle for the
realization of the Right to Health. One grant was secured
from the European Union as part of a call for projects that
support primary health care and aims to look at health care
users experiences as a focus for unlocking opportunities
to access quality health services in the Eastern and
Western Cape. An additional grant was secured from the
International Development Research Centre in Canada
to work with collaborators in Uganda on governance in
the health system, specifically focusing on community
participation as a key strategy for the realisation of the
right to health
Family Medicine Division
The mission of the Division of Family Medicine is to
graduate doctors who are able to enter their internship
and community service years with the appropriate level
of confidence and competence when diagnosing and
managing common primary care problems. They are able
to function fully in the PHC team, and are able to take the
lead in district-based health care, teaching and research in
any community setting in South and Southern Africa.
Our postgraduate students enrolled for the M Fam Med,
M Med (Fam Med), and M Phil (Pall Med) degrees are all
required to complete a research dissertation.
Research highlights for 2012 included the following:
• The Division of Family Medicine partnered with
Professor Leslie London in the Public Health Division
and the Learning Network to successfully apply for
an EU funded grant for the strengthening of primary
health care services, to the value of around 1 million
EURO. Family Medicine has 5 packages in this project
to the approximate value of over R5 million over a
period of 30 months, viz
(a) 17: Extension of undergraduate student language
learning into the 5th and 6th years of the MBChB
(b) 18: Providing language instruction in isiXhosa and
Afrikaans for service personnel at two sites
(c) 19: PROMS (Patient Related Outcome Measures)
being conducted by Palliative Medicine in
association with King’s College, London
(d) 20: PCAT (Primary Care Assessment Tool)
(e) 21: Chronic Disease Audit
• Professor Derek Hellenberg is the PI for packages 17
and 18 and Dr Liz Gwyther is the PI for package 19 of
the EU project
• Dr Nayna Manga appointed as Research Project
co-ordinator for the Family Medicine Packages for the
EU Grant.
• Dr Liz Gwyther is the PI for the IMPAQT study for the EU
grant: Measuring and Improving Outcomes for Patients
with Progressive Chronic Disease: a Palliative Care
Audit in two Western Cape sites
• Dr Elma De Vries leads the annual audit of chronic
diseases of lifestyle for the Western Cape Department
of Health. This project has now added a new dimension
to the audit tool (that of patient perceptions of the
management they receive for chronic diseases at
CHC’s) which forms part of an EU Grant.
• Dr Graham Bresick is the PI for the PCAT study that
started in 2011 and was completed in 2012. This study
has been extended to include a rural and a few more
urban sites and forms part of the EU Grant.
• Dr Abdul Isaacs is the PI for the Prescription costs study
which was started in 2012 and compared medicine
costs for chronic diseases at a few CHC’s in the Metro
District. The first article from this study was accepted
for publication in the SAFPJ in 2013.
• Professor D A Hellenberg is the PI of a survey initiated in
2009 of the first graduates of the new curriculum (2007)
to assess the usefulness of language learning during
the BaDr course in the work environment. Surveys
and focus group interviews will be done annually until
2013 to record the effects of innovations in the course
structure and content on the outcomes.
• Dr Tsepo Motsohi started a research project on staff
absenteeism in the CHC’s on the Metro West platform
• The database of 6th year family medicine student
CHC-based projects is continuously updated on our
database. The database serves as a useful guide for
district management, the family physicians and family
medicine registrars at the CHCs when deciding on
research priorities and interventions to improve delivery
of primary health care services
• Meetings with MDHS senior management and staff
continued in 2012, to develop a common research
agenda, prioritise key research questions and
commission research. Date: 4th October 2012 which
now involves the office of Dr Tracey Naledi assisted by
Dr George Petros.