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Community care worker perceptions of their roles in tuberculosis care and their information needs

Ida Okeyo
Ros Dowse


Background: Community care workers (CCWs) inhabit a central role in the management of tuberculosis (TB) patients in South Africa. CCWs attend training courses, but training is not standardised at either the national or provincial level.

Objective: To explore perceptions of CCWs of their role in TB care and TB information needs.

Methods: CCWs working with TB patients were recruited from Grahamstown Hospice and local primary healthcare clinics in Grahamstown. Focus group discussions and semistructured interviews were conducted with 14 CCWs using a question guide. Data were thematically analysed.

Results: Three themes emerged from data analysis. Firstly, altruism was identified as the major motivational factor, with a desire to help others often stimulated by previously caring for sick relatives. Some CCWs had experienced being patients needing care, which motivated them to become involved in offering patient care. Secondly, CCWs reported great fulfilment and pride in their work as they believed they made a meaningful impact on patients' lives and in the surrounding community, and were respected for this contribution. Thirdly, most identified a need for further training and access to additional information about TB, particularly MDR- and XDR-TB, in order to reinforce both their own knowledge and to educate patients about drug-resistant TB.

Conclusion: CCWs were motivated and proud of their contribution to TB patient management and the education they provided to patients and to lay community members. Ongoing training was identified as a need, along with access to quality information materials to improve their knowledge and facilitate patient counselling.

Keywords: Tuberculosis, Community care workers, Motivation, Role, Information needs, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848