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lady by crops

© This image remains the property of J.Watkins

The PhD project is entitled: The 'Vutivi Study' (Shangaan for Knowledge) -
“Health care system design and the integration of ICT and medical technologies for patients with chronic conditions and antenatal women in primary health care in rural South Africa: A Critical Analysis.”

My research interest is in Public Health therefore this project focuses on the use e/mHealth for health system strengthening in South Africa. I am particularly interested in the Government's e/mHealth strategies and their implementation and, the future of e/m-Health within the public health service.

I was based at the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Transition Research Unit in Mpumalanga at Tintswalo hospital in Acornhoek and Agincourt village in Bushbuckridge.

Objectives: The purpose of the data collection is to ascertain patterns of cell phone use amongst patients and community members, the ways in which health professionals use digital and networked technology for health and what key informants feel is the current and future landscape of e/mHealth in this country.

Methodology: Data collection has predominately been qualitative interviews with the following participants (approximately n=155):
-Patients with chronic conditions (n=97) in seven PHC clinics in Bushbuckridge and one district hospital
-Antenatal women (n=28)
-Government and private doctors
-Government nurses/Pharmacists/Optometrists/Psychologists/Clinical associate students
-Lay health workers and Home-based carers
-Traditionals healers/Health practitioners
-Community members (e.g. Fruit and airtime sellers)
-Policy makers at the National, Provincial and District South African Department of Health
-Key Informants (e.g. e/mHealth experts/consultants)

fieldworker with patient

© This image remains the property of J.Watkins

Agincourt fieldworker and translator helping the patient to thumb print the consent form at a clinic before the interview.

 Hypertensive Patient

© This image remains the property of J.Watkins

img_1804.jpgYoung women with phoneman with phone

Part C. Interviews with Key Informants and Policy Makers (April 2014 onwards)

Phase One: Pilot

ANC ward, Tintswalo Hospital, Acornhoek (November 2013)

Phase Two: Data Collection

Part a. Seven primary healthcare clinics and one district hospital (January 2014 - August 2014). Interviews with Health Practitioners (nurses/doctors/clinical associates/optomitrist/pharmacist/traditional healers) and interviews and focus groups with patients with chronic disease and pregnant women.

Part b. In-depth interviews with Community Members, Key Informants (e/mHealth experts) and Policy Makers in the National/Provincial/District Department of Health and Department of Communication.

Total number of participants interviewed: n=231