Patients' experiences at mobile health clinics : a case study of the KwaMachi in KwaZulu-Natal.
Primary health care remains at the top of the government’s agenda. To address the issues of inequity, the Department of Health adopted mobile health clinics to ensure that the places that are hard to reach have access to primary health care. Without good health people do not have means to enjoy other aspect such as education and employment. Apartheid policies implemented by the old regime resulted in many rural areas in South Africa remaining underdeveloped and underserviced. Hence, the introduction of mobile health clinic ensured that the population in rural areas have access to health care. Unlike fixed clinics, there are no specific sets of guidelines set up for the operations of mobile health clinic. This include, displaying health posters at mobile health clinics, providing patients with safe drinking water at the mobile site. With more and more mobile health clinics being added to the rural population there should be established scope of services to for rural population. This will ensure equality of service delivery between the mobile health clinics and fixed clinics. Thus, guaranteeing its acceptability to the users. Using qualitative methods the study explored the experiences of patients at the mobile health clinic. Following the health equity model the study explored what the community of KwaMachi use the mobile health clinic for and the experiences of individual when accessing health care at the mobile health clinic. The findings suggest that patients have both positive and negative experiences at the mobile health clinic. The majority of respondents commented that mobile health clinic offered them an entry point to the South African national health system. They also pointed out the services offered are limited. Hence, providing a range of primary health care services will ensure the maximisation of positive experiences at the mobile health clinic and this is likely to contribute positively to the morbidity and mortality rates in rural areas in South Africa.
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