Scielo RSS <![CDATA[African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine ]]> vol. 14 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>One swallow does not a summer make: Twenty years of challenges and achievements of family medicine in Mozambique</b>]]> After 20 years of hard work, family medicine (FM) is flourishing in Mozambique, but the challenges are immense in a context of multiple health needs. This study aimed to describe strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats of the current scenario that can influence the development of FM and primary health care (PHC) in Mozambique. Case study of a series of virtual world-café meetings using the World Health Organization's Operational Framework for primary health care as a theoretical model. There is a young generation of Family Physicians (FPs) eager to improve PHC in Mozambique - a result of the reactivation of the Maputo Residency Programme and the creation of the Mozambican College of FP in 2010. The current Ministry of Health has taken this agenda forward, inviting medical societies (including FM) to jointly design plans to expand training of human resources for healthcare. This plan aims to create new training sites in five different provinces hoping that it will increase the number of FP in remote areas, fixing the unequal distribution of specialists in the country. The small number of FP practicing today and the limited financial resources of the National Government are important threats to this plan. We have many strengths already conquered and the current situation opens an opportunity for the expansion of FM in Mozambique. Hopefully, it will help PHC in our country move from verticalised and selective health programmes towards a more comprehensive, efficient and person-centred care. <![CDATA[<b>Facilitating sexual and reproductive health services for adolescent girls in the COVID-19 era: An urgent public health priority</b>]]> After 20 years of hard work, family medicine (FM) is flourishing in Mozambique, but the challenges are immense in a context of multiple health needs. This study aimed to describe strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats of the current scenario that can influence the development of FM and primary health care (PHC) in Mozambique. Case study of a series of virtual world-café meetings using the World Health Organization's Operational Framework for primary health care as a theoretical model. There is a young generation of Family Physicians (FPs) eager to improve PHC in Mozambique - a result of the reactivation of the Maputo Residency Programme and the creation of the Mozambican College of FP in 2010. The current Ministry of Health has taken this agenda forward, inviting medical societies (including FM) to jointly design plans to expand training of human resources for healthcare. This plan aims to create new training sites in five different provinces hoping that it will increase the number of FP in remote areas, fixing the unequal distribution of specialists in the country. The small number of FP practicing today and the limited financial resources of the National Government are important threats to this plan. We have many strengths already conquered and the current situation opens an opportunity for the expansion of FM in Mozambique. Hopefully, it will help PHC in our country move from verticalised and selective health programmes towards a more comprehensive, efficient and person-centred care. <![CDATA[<b>Maternity healthcare providers' self-perceptions of well-being during COVID-19: A survey in Tshwane Health District, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Mental health manifestations such as depression and anxiety disorders became more marked during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as frontline healthcare workers struggled to maintain high-quality intrapartum care and essential health servicesAIM: This study aimed to identify maternity healthcare providers' self-perceptions of changes in their feelings of mental well-beingSETTING: Ten midwife obstetric units and the labour wards of four district hospitals in Tshwane Health District, South AfricaMETHODS: We conducted an anonymous, cross-sectional survey amongst a convenience sample of 114 maternity healthcare workers to gauge the changes in healthcare workers' experience and perceptions of well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Four items measured the perceived changes on a scale of 0-10 for the periods before and during COVID-19, respectively, namely feelings of fear or anxiety, stress, depression and angerRESULTS: The majority of participants were professional nurses (37%) and advanced midwives (47%). They reported a significant change in well-being from before the pandemic to during the pandemic with regard to all four items (p < 0.0001). The biggest 'before-during' difference was in perceptions of fear or anxiety and the smallest difference was in perceptions of anger. A framework was constructed from the open-ended responses to explain healthcare workers' understanding and perceptions of increased negative feelings regarding their mental well-beingCONCLUSION: The observed trends in the changes in healthcare workers' self-perceptions of their mental well-being highlight the need for further planning to build resilient frontline healthcare workers and provide them with ongoing mental health support and improved communication pathways <![CDATA[<b>Challenges experienced by community health workers and their motivation to attend a self-management programme</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Community health workers (CHWs) are change agents expected to assist in decreasing the global burden of disease in the communities they serve. However, they themselves have health risk behaviours, which predispose them to non-communicable diseases and thus need to be empowered to make better health choices. There is a gap in literature detailing the challenges faced by CHWs in addressing their own health risk behavioursAIM: This study aimed to explore the challenges experienced by CHWs in carrying out their daily duties and the motivating factors to join a self-management programmeSETTING: The study was conducted in a low socio-economic urban area of the Western Cape, South AfricaMETHODS: This study used a qualitative exploratory design using in-depth interviews to obtain rich data about the personal and professional challenges that CHWs experience on a daily basisRESULTS: Five themes emerged with regard to professional challenges (social conditions, mental health of patients, work environment, patient adherence and communication). This cadre identified ineffective self-management as a personal challenge and two themes emerged as motivation for participating in a self-management programme: empowerment and widening perspectiveCONCLUSION: The challenges raised by the CHWs have a direct impact on their role in communities. This study therefore highlights an urgent need for policymakers and leaders who plan training programmes to take intentional strategic action to address their health challenges and to consider utilising a self-management intervention model to improve their overall health status <![CDATA[<b>Medical internship training during the COVID-19 pandemic - A case of 'sacrificial pawns' or not?</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Newly qualified medical practitioners in South Africa (SA) are part of the frontline health care workers who face Africa's most severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The experiences of interns during the pandemic reflect SA's preparedness to respond in a crisis and inform strategies that could be adopted to balance training and service in resource-challenged contextsAIM: To explore the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats posed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as reflected on by interns within the clinical training platforms in SASETTING: Public hospitals in KwaZulu-NatalMETHODS: An online questionnaire consisting of eight open-ended questions based on the SWOT framework related to personal and professional perspectives to clinical training during the COVID-19 pandemic was developed using SurveyMonkey. All data were collected remotely via social media platforms. Data were thematically analysedRESULTS: Forty-six interns reflected on personal and systemic challenges as the major threats and weaknesses in intern training during the COVID-19 pandemic. Extrapolating on strengths and opportunities, there were three overarching learnings interns reflected on. These related to being a medical professional, communities of practice and the development and enhancement of clinical and non-clinical competencies. Existing challenges in the environment exacerbated the threats posed by COVID-19 and innovative strategies related to improving support, feedback, broadening the intern curriculum and online trainingCONCLUSION: Although the clinical environment where interns learn and work is often stressful and overpowered by high service burdens, there are unique opportunities to enhance self-directed learning and graduate competencies, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic <![CDATA[<b>Non-communicable disease care and management in two sites of the Cape Town Metro during the first wave of COVID-19: A rapid appraisal</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including type-2 diabetes and hypertension, have been associated with increased morbidity and mortality rates because of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Maintaining quality care for these conditions is important but data on the impact of COVID-19 on NCD care in South Africa are sparseAIM: This study aimed to assess the impact of COVID-19 on facility and community-based NCD care and management during the first COVID-19 waveSETTING: Two public health sector primary care sites in the Cape Town Metro, including a Community Orientated Primary Care (COPC) learning siteMETHODS: A rapid appraisal with convergent mixed-methods design, including semi-structured interviews with facility and community health workers (CHWs) (n = 20) and patients living with NCDs (n = 8), was used. Interviews were conducted in English and Afrikaans by qualified interviewers. Transcripts were analysed by thematic content analysis. Quantitative data of health facility attendance, chronic dispensing unit (CDU) prescriptions and routine diabetes control were sourced from the Provincial Health Data Centre and analysed descriptivelyRESULTS: Qualitative analysis revealed three themes: disruption (cancellation of services, fear of infection, stress and anxiety), service reorganisation (communication, home delivery of medication, CHW scope of work, risk stratification and change management) and outcomes (workload and morale, stigma, appreciation and impact on NCD control). There was a drop in primary care attendance and an increase in CDU prescriptions and uncontrolled diabetesCONCLUSION: This study described the service disruption together with rapid reorganisation and change management at primary care level during the first COVID-19 wave. The changes were strengthened by the COPC foundation in one of the study sites. The impact of COVID-19 on primary-level NCD care and management requires more investigation <![CDATA[<b>The prevalence and psychosocial risk factors of chronic low back pain in KwaZulu-Natal</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is the leading cause of disability and has been extensively investigated in high-income countries (HICs), with little done in low-and middle-income countries. Biomechanical stressors do not have a major pathogenic role, but psychosocial predisposition is important. The occurrence and progression of CLBP are significantly affected by psychosocial risk factors. Guidelines recommend the early identification of psychosocial factors that could predict CLBPAIM: To determine the prevalence and psychosocial risk factors for CLBP amongst adults in KwaZulu-Natal, South AfricaSETTING: The study was conducted at five randomly selected public hospitals in KwaZulu-NatalMETHODS: Analytical cross-sectional hospital-based study utilising a self-administered questionnaire to collect data on (1) sociodemographic, (2) disability, (3) fear-avoidance beliefs and (4) illness behaviour. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 24.0 was used for data cleaning and descriptive statistics. Chi-square test was used for categorical variables. Standard Edition of the Statistical Software for Data Science version 17.0 (STATA 17.0 SE) was used to identify risk factors using the logistic regression analysis. A p-value of ≤ 0.05 was deemed statistically significantRESULTS: Overall prevalence of CLBP was 22.2% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 18.8-25.9). Females had a higher prevalence of CLBP than males, 23.9% (95% CI: 19.4-28.9) and 19.7% (95% CI: 14.8-25.5), respectively; however, the difference was not significant p = 0.243. The multivariate regression analysis identified the following risk factors: female gender, middle-aged adults 38-47 years, obesity, disease conviction, affective disturbance, denial and fear-avoidance behaviour-work subscaleCONCLUSION: There is a high prevalence of CLBP amongst the study participants. Psychosocial factors (disease conviction, affective disturbance and fear-avoidance behaviour about work) are significant predictors of CLBP <![CDATA[<b>Satisfaction with life and psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic: An Egyptian online cross-sectional study</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a novel sickness that emerged worldwide as an unprecedented crisis and led to major effects on the daily life of the general public as well as negative impacts on their mental well-beingAIM: This study aimed to assess satisfaction with life and psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic in EgyptSETTING: An online study was conducted in EgyptMETHODS: A cross-sectional online survey was fulfilled by 1056 Egyptian adults from 06 to 13 June 2020. Psychological distress and satisfaction with life were measured by Arabic validated versions of the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLSRESULTS: About half of the surveyed respondents (51%) were satisfied with their life, whilst 57.4% experienced severe psychological distress. The independent predictors of satisfaction with life are being married, satisfactory income, low distress, moderate distress and high distress (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.2, 3.0, 2.5, 6.9, 5.2 and 2.1, respectively). Being a female, having secondary education, > secondary education, unsatisfactory income and presence of mental illness are the independent predictors of mental distress (AOR = 2.3, 3.9, 1.9, 1.9, 1.6 and 4.0, respectivelyCONCLUSION: The study provides evidence about the high prevalence of psychological distress during the peak period of Egypt's COVID-19 pandemic. The study results highlight the enhancement of development interventions to promote psychological well-being and feeling of satisfaction with life during the pandemic <![CDATA[<b>Preparedness to implement national enteral nutritional therapy practice guidelines: An observational study of primary health care institutions in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Despite the long-term consequences of malnutrition in hospitalised patients, nutritional practice guidelines for adults, particularly in the recovery phase are rarely implemented in community based primary health care settingsAIM: This study aimed at assessing the current practice to establish preparedness for effective implementation of the 2016 South African Enteral Nutrition Practice Guidelines for AdultsSETTING: This study was conducted in a district hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, a community health centre, two primary health care (PHC) clinics and one householdMETHODS: Non-participant observations were conducted to observe 10 purposefully selected health care professionals involved in nutritional therapy provision to adults, a patient on home enteral nutrition (HEN) and a family caregiver. Content analysis helped identify predominant themes that emerged in the studyRESULTS: Observation results showed that the national enteral nutritional (EN) therapy practice guidelines were not available in all health care institutions. Health care professionals were not aware of them and the care users confirmed that they attended HEN related follow-up care at institutions that prescribed and inserted their feeding tubes. Two major themes that emerged in this study include positive factors and negative factors that influence implementation of the guidelineCONCLUSION: The study identified factors that can have significant influence on the implementation of the national enteral nutritional therapy practice guidelines, a necessary step for changing clinical practice and thus clinical outcomes of patients. The EN/HEN training and the provision of necessary resources are needed to improve the situation. More research on the strategies for the dissemination of guidelines is essential to improve awareness and thus adoption and implementation <![CDATA[<b>Vision screening as part of the school health policy in South Africa from the perspective of school health nurses</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Vision screenings of school-going children are essential in the early detection of visual anomalies common in different age categories, which may negatively affect their academic ability and social development. Hence, their inclusion in school health policies is imperative. The aim of this study was to assess the implementation of vision screening protocols in the current Integrated School Health Screening policy of South Africa from the perspective of school health personnelAIM: The study sought to explore the perceptions, experiences and attitudes of the school health nurses on vision screenings included as part of the school health screenings in Gauteng province (South AfricaSETTING: This study was located across three public healthcare facilities across Gauteng at primary healthcare levelsMETHODS: Three teams of 13 school health personnel from three primary healthcare facilities in the district of Ekurhuleni were invited to participate in the study. Focus group interviews were conducted for generating information on collective opinions and the rationale behind their viewsRESULTS: Results of the collected qualitative data revealed challenges related to training, vision screening tests, referral criteria and follow-ups or referral pathways. In addition, further challenges reported were related to communication, time, space and consent forms not signed by the parentsCONCLUSION: Improved cohesion and communication between all role players will enable reasonable and professional provision of validated vision screening services that have the best chance of early detection of children with vision anomalies to negate possible adverse effects on their scholarly performance <![CDATA[<b>South African men and women living with HIV have similar distributions of pain sites</b>]]> BACKGROUND: No studies have investigated sex differences in the location and number of pain sites in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (PLWH), despite evidence that women, in general, bear a greater burden of pain than menAIM: To determine sex differences in the location and number of pain sites, and whether there were demographic or disease-related differences in the number of pain sitesSETTING: South African tertiary hospital HIV clinics and a community healthcare centreMETHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of records from South African PLWH who had painRESULTS: Of the 596 participant records, 19% were male (115/596) and the median number of pain sites for both sexes was 2 (interquartile range [IQR]: 1 to 3). Pain was most frequently experienced in the head (men: 12%, women: 38%), feet and ankles (men: 42%, women: 28%), abdomen (men = 19%, women = 28%) and chest (men = 20%, women = 20%). After correcting for multiple comparisons, males were less likely to experience headache than females (Fisher's exact text, odds ratio [OR] = 0.23, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.12 - 0.42, p = 0.000). Pain at other body sites was experienced similarly between the sexes. There was no meaningful variation in the number of pain sites between the sexes (logistic regression, p = 0.157CONCLUSION: A similar location and number of pain sites were experienced by male and female South African PLWH. The locations of pain sites were different from previous reports, however, suggesting that research into pain in PLWH cannot necessarily be generalised across cultures <![CDATA[<b>Patient satisfaction with the Nigerian National Health Insurance Scheme two decades since establishment: A systematic review and recommendations for improvement</b>]]> BACKGROUND: To improve healthcare access and mitigate healthcare costs for its population, Nigeria established a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in 1999. The NHIS remains Nigeria's leading vehicle for achieving universal health coverage; nonetheless, questions remain regarding its quality and effectiveness. Studies on patient satisfaction have served as a useful strategy to further understand the patient experience and the efficacy of health systemsAIM: To synthesise current knowledge on patient satisfaction with the NHISMETHODS: The authors performed a systematic review of primary literature from 1999 to 2020 reporting on NHIS patient satisfaction in eight databases (including PubMed, Embase, and Africa-wide InformationRESULTS: This search returned 764 unique records of which 21 met criteria for full data extraction. The 21 qualifying studies representing 11 of the 36 Nigerian states, were published from 2011 to 2020, and found moderate overall satisfaction with the NHIS (64%). Further, when disaggregated into specific domains, NHIS enrolees were most satisfied with provider attitudes (77%) and healthcare environments (70%), but less satisfied with laboratories (62%), billings (62%), pharmaceutical services (56%), wait times (55%), and referrals (51%). Importantly, time trends indicate satisfaction with the NHIS is increasing - although to differing degrees depending on the domainCONCLUSION: The beneficiaries of the NHIS are moderately satisfied with the scheme. They consider it an improvement from being uninsured, but believe that the scheme can be considerably improved. The authors present two main recommendations: (1) shorter wait times may increase patient satisfaction and can be a central focus in improving the overall scheme, and (2) more research is needed across all 36 states to comprehensively understand patient satisfaction towards NHIS in anticipation of potential scheme expansion <![CDATA[<b>Community-oriented primary care for National Health Insurance in South Africa</b>]]> This is a report on Chiawelo Community Practice (CCP) in Ward 11, Soweto, South Africa, a community-oriented primary care (COPC) model for National Health Insurance (NHI) in South Africa, developed by a family physician. A shift to capitation contracting for primary health care (PHC) under NHI will carry risk for providers - both public and private, especially higher number of patient visits. Health promotion and disease prevention, especially using a COPC model, will be important. Leading the implementation of COPC is an important role for family physicians in Africa, but global implementation of COPC is challenged. Cuba and Brazil have implemented COPC with panels of 600 and 3500, respectively. The family physician in this report has developed community practice as a model with four drivers using a complex adaptive system lens: population engagement with community health workers (CHWs), a clinic re-oriented to its community, stakeholder engagement and targeted health promotion. A team of three medical interns: 1 clinical associate, 3 nurses and 20 CHWs, supervised by the family physician, effectively manage a panel of approximately 30 000 people. This has resulted in low utilisation rates (less than one visit per person per year), high population access and satisfaction and high clinical quality. This has been despite the challenge of a reductionist PHC system, poor management support and poor public service culture. The results could be more impressive if panels are limited to 10 000, if there was a better team structure with a single doctor leading a team of 3-4 nurse/clinical associates and 10-12 CHWs and PHC provider units that are truly empowered to manage resources locally. <![CDATA[<b>Patient safety attitude among healthcare workers at different levels of healthcare in Sharqia Governorate, Egypt</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Patient safety (PS) has been identified as a significant healthcare challenge. A good safety attitude helps healthcare workers (HCWs) to decrease medical errors. AIM: This study aimed to assess the PS attitude and identify its determinants among HCWs. SETTING: This study was conducted in Sharqia Governorate at different levels of health care. METHODS: This was a comparative cross-sectional study that involved240 HCWs selected after using a multistage cluster sampling technique from Sharqia Governorate.In ordertto assess the respondents' attitudes towards PS, the modified Chinese Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (CSAQ) was used. RESULTS: The scale with the highest percentage of positive responses, on average, was safety climate (49.59%). The study found a statistically significant association between the level of health care and mean scores of 'teamwork climate, perception of management, job satisfaction, working conditions, and stress recognition' and the overall CSAQ score. In regression analysis, the highest degree of education and job type were significant predictors of PS attitude among the HCWs under study (p = 0.031 and 0.011, respectively. CONCLUSION: According to the study's findings, PS is low among HCWs in both healthcare units and hospitals, with a significantly higher score among hospital workers than among primary care workers. All PS composites need improvement starting with regular assessment of PS culture along with continuous monitoring.. <![CDATA[<b>Perceptions of postgraduate family medicine supervision at decentralised training sites, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Specialist training in family medicine (FM) is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa. The strong emphasis on workplace-based learning for speciality training makes it vital to gain in-depth insights into registrar supervision. Previous studies have explored aspects of supervision at decentralised sites in high-income countries, however, little is known about the benefits and constraints of decentralised postgraduate supervision in low- to middle-income countries, especially in Africa. AIM: This study aimed to explore family physicians' and registrars' perceptions of the strengths and challenges of clinical and educational supervision across decentralised training sites. SETTING: The study was conducted across two provinces at five decentralised training sites affiliated with the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. METHODS: This qualitative study involved semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 11 FPs and 11 registrars. The data were thematically analysed. RESULTS: Two of the four themes identified, 'supervision is context-specific and supervisor-dependent', and 'the nature of engagement matters', involved strengths and challenges. The other two, 'supervision is not ideal' and 'the training environment is challenging', focussed on challenges. CONCLUSION: Supervisors and registrars described the postgraduate FM supervision as context-specific and supervisor-dependent. Supervisors displayed good clinical-teacher characteristics and supervisory relationships. However, several challenges, including registrars' workload, resource shortages and a lack of standardisation across training sites, need to be addressed. Regular faculty development is essential for supervisors to be aware of relevant aspects of, and current trends in, postgraduate training. <![CDATA[<b>Demographic and clinical profiles of residents in long-term care facilities in South Africa: A cross-sectional survey</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The demand for long-term care facilities (LTCFs) amongst older people in South Africa (SA) is growing and there is insufficient information on the profile and healthcare needs of this population. AIM: This study was conducted to describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of residents in LTFCs in SA. SETTING: Three LTCFs in eThekwini district. METHODS: A cross-sectional design was used to collect data from a purposive sample of 102 (N = 204) residents. A structured questionnaire was used to collect demographic and clinical data. The data were entered into Microsoft Excel and analysed descriptively and inferentially using R version 3.5.1 software. RESULTS: The majority of the residents (59.8%) were between 65 and 80 years (78.9 ± 8.1 years) and 74.5% were women. The residents were white people (91.1%), SA born (82.4%) and widowed (54.9%). English was the primary language (91.1%), with the majority being christian (52.0%). Some residents had a university education, were previously employed and are financially independent. Ninety-three percent had clinical conditions, each suffering from at least three clinical conditions. Hypertension (63.7%), high cholesterol (53.9%), arthritis (38.2%), depression (37.3%) were the most prevalent clinical conditions recorded amongst the residents. Most residents were assessed to be intermediately frail, at risk of malnutrition and had mild depression as based on the respective mean frailty-, nutrition-, and geriatric depression scores. CONCLUSION: Residents in LTCFs in the eThekwini district are more likely to be white people; women, christian, widowed, intermediately frail and at risk of malnutrition <![CDATA[<b>Clinical associates and access to healthcare in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Clinical associates (ClinAs) were introduced into South Africa as part of the remedy for the severe shortage of healthcare workers in rural areas. Walter Sisulu University (WSU) graduated 100 ClinAs between 2011 and 2014. These ClinAs were expected to be based at district hospitals where they would work under the supervision of doctors, reduce the workload of doctors and increase access to healthcare in the Eastern Cape. AIM: This study aimed to examine the role played by ClinAs in healthcare delivery in Eastern Cape district hospitals, and to determine whether the training of ClinAs adequately prepared them for this role. SETTING: The study was conducted in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa amongst ClinAs who graduated from WSU between 2011 and 2014, and healthcare workers from Madzikane KaZulu Memorial Hospital. METHODS: This was an exploratory cross-sectional mixed methods study with a convergent design. Surveys and in-depth interviews were conducted amongst ClinAs, nurses, doctors and one pharmacist. Both qualitative and quantitative data were analysed and reported RESULTS: Clinical associates are seen to improve the workload of doctors, and to increase access to healthcare. Thirty-four percent of ClinAs were no longer contributing to healthcare in the Eastern Cape. CONCLUSION: Clinical associates are making a significant contribution to access to healthcare in the Eastern Cape. Their supervision regimen needs to be revisited and factors that contribute to the attrition of ClinAs in the Eastern Cape need to be addressed <![CDATA[<b>Climate change and health within the South African context: A thematic content analysis study of climate change and health expert interviews</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Climate change presents an unprecedented and urgent threat to human health and survival. South Africa's health response will require a strong and effective intersectoral organisational effort. AIM: Exploratory interview outcomes are used to advance practice and policy recommendations, as well as for broad input in the development of a draft national framework for a health risk and vulnerability assessment (RVA) for national departments SETTING: Nationally in South Africa. METHOD: Twenty key expert interviews were conducted with South African experts in the field of climate change and health. Interview data was analysed by means of thematic content analysis. RESULTS: Findings suggest that previously poor communities are most at risk to the impacts of climate change on health, as well as those with underlying medical conditions. Climate change may also serve as a catalyst for improving the healthcare system overall and should serve as the conduit to do so. A draft climate change and health RVA should take into account existing frameworks and should be implemented by local government. It is also critical that the health and health system impacts from climate change are well understood, especially in light of the plans to implement the (South African) National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme. CONCLUSION: Practice and policy initiatives should be holistic in nature. Consideration should be given to forming a South African National Department of Climate Change, or a similar coordinating body between the various national departments in South Africa, as health intercepts with all other domains within the climate change field.