Journal of Social Development in Africa

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Hospital social work practice in Botswana: Yesterday, today and tomorrow

T Malinga, R Mupedziswa


Social work professionals play a key role in facilitating social welfare processes. The practice of social work in any given setting requires knowledge of human development and behaviour, of social, economic, and cultural institutions and the interaction of all these various factors. Social work practice occurs in various contexts, but essentially it happens in both primary and secondary settings. Primary settings are those public and private social welfare agencies where professional social workers are seen as the key players, given that they run or manage the settings. On the other hand, in secondary settings social work is not viewed as the core business. A hospital setting for instance, is ordinarily considered a secondary setting, essentially because the core business in such settings is treatment of patients suffering from various ailments, by medical personnel. In both primary and secondary settings, social work professionals often encounter enormous challenges, and these tend to be acute in developing countries in particular, due to resource constraints. This paper examines the challenges associated with social work practice in hospital settings in Botswana, and suggests ways of improving the practice environment to enhance the quality of service.

KEYWORDS: Social work practice, Botswana, secondary setting, hospital, teamwork, challenges Social work practice, Botswana, secondary setting, hospital, teamwork, challenges
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