Nurses’ monitoring of the Road to Health Chart at primary healthcare level in Makhado, Limpopo province
Background: The Road to Health Chart (RTHC) is a record chart carried by the caregiver that combines essential information on the growth monitoring of a child, immunisation, vitamin A supplementation, deworming medicine and other illnesses. It provides useful information to the parent and healthcare professional. This study sought to determine the challenges faced by professional nurses in monitoring the RTHC during consultation, the degree of implementation of the RTHC programme, and the most utilised aspect of the RTHC at Louis Trichardt Memorial Hospital and surrounding primary healthcare (PHC) clinics.
Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 128 registered professional nurses. A self-administered questionnaire was used.
Results: Ninety-six questionnaires were completed. Most of the respondents were female and aged 40-49 years. The majority of the PHC professional nurses stated that the challenges faced in monitoring the RTHC were staff shortages, lack of equipment, a work overload and unequal distribution of professional nurses on duty per shift. There was poor knowledge on how to identify malnutrition. The majority of PHC professional nurses had not completed their basic courses.
Conclusion: PHC professional nurses voiced their concern that challenges encountered during consultations were direct reasons for their poor monitoring of the RTHC. The degree of implementation of the RTHC programme fell short of the norms and standards of the Department of Health and Social Development concerning child health care in South Africa. The most utilised aspect of the RTHC was the expanded programme on immunisation, vitamin A supplementation and deworming medicine.
Keywords: immunisation, malnutrition, anthropometric indices, child mortality, child health