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Masters Degrees (Social work)

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    The functioning of care and support committees in selected schools in eSikhawini, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2023) Mathonsi, Moses Philani.; Mthembu, Maud Nombulelo.
    The study explored the functioning of care and support committees in selected schools, within the context of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and poverty that are main detrimental factors causing children’s vulnerability. Functioning of schools as centers of care and support is also an international policy mandate and pioneered by the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU). The Department of Basic Education in South Africa, has implemented various policies that aim to streamline schools as centers of care and support for orphans and vulnerable children. Schools are recognized as centers of care and support if they are able to provide safety nets and offer social relief services to the learners in need of care and protection as stipulated in section 150 of the Children’s Act No 38 of 2005. The reviewed literature indicated that teachers tasked with rendering care and support in reviews pertinent to learner support at the Department of Basic Education, an increase of monitoring and evaluation functionality by the officials of the department of basic education at district level to address the systemic challenges faced by teachers positioned in frontline of rendering care and support to the OVCs. schools are facing challenges of limited resources to address the ever-increasing number of learners who have been identified as orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). The study was conducted at eSikhawini in three selected schools with focus groups participants who are members of care and support committees and the participants of in-depth interviews with members of school management teams (SMTs) in each school. This study used qualitative methods and its relevant methodological approaches to gather data from the participants and to address the research problem and rationale that investigate the challenges and factors that are detrimental to the functioning of care and support committees in schools. The findings revealed that there is a lack of funding for the learner care and support functionality, lack of capacity building workshops and the care and support committee members who are expected to perform the caring role to the orphans and vulnerable children. The none-changing roles and lack of participation by other teachers in schools was also found as hindrances in the functioning of care and support committees in schools. The study has contributed to the domain of learner care and support, strategies of providing psychosocial support to learners and the understanding of the statutory roles of social workers in child protection organizations. In addition, the study has added value on strategies aiming to address the circumstances of the identified OVCs. Finally, the study has recommended policy
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    An exploration of the experiences of social workers and nurses treating HIV/TB patients during the COVID-19 pandemic at King Dinuzulu Hospital in Durban.
    (2023) Thabethe, Thandiwe Bonisiwe.; Seepamore, Boitumelo Khothatso.
    The outbreak of COVID-19, a global health pandemic, created a tsunami of problems resulting in lockdowns as the world grappled to understand and contain its spread and save lives. For King Dinuzulu Hospital, a specialised healthcare centre for the treatment of TB, its designation as a COVID-19 health facility in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, turned it into a facility managing three epidemics, COVID-19, TB and HIV. The main aim of this study was to explore the experiences of public social workers and nurses caring for and treating TB/HIV patients during the COVID-19 pandemic at King Dinuzulu Hospital. This study utilised a qualitative research methodology. Data were collected from 15 HCWs (seven public social workers and eight nurses) selected using a purposive sampling methodology. One-on-one in-depth interviews were conducted. These were guided by an interview guide with open-ended questions, and the collected data were analysed using thematic content analysis. The study revealed that COVID-19 negatively affected the delivery of social work and nursing services at King Dinuzulu Hospital, and HCWs experienced psychological distress due to fear of being infected, infecting their family members and seeing some of their colleagues and patients at KDH die from COVID-19 pandemic. The mitigation measures that were put in place to blunt the full impact of COVID-19 on HCWs providing services to TB/HIV patients, went some way in preventing a total disaster from happening. KDH needs to resolve the shortage of HCWs, provide sufficient PPEs, repair and provide access to telephones/ mobile phones, and provide adequate and conducive offices.
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    Learning during COVID-19: exploring students' experiences of studying social work through blended learning at a university in Durban.
    (2023) Tlhaku, Kwena Rayneth.; Mthembu, Maud Nombulelo.
    The social work program is a professional program that offers students a unique skill set to address real-world socio-cultural issues. The coronavirus disease raised much skepticism among educators and students alike about whether social work can be effectively taught through blended learning. This study aims to explore the experiences of social work students taking the program through this approach to learning. Additionally, the purpose of the study is to identify the opportunities and challenges presented by blended learning and the strategies students employed to adapt to it. It seeks to draw attention to the students’ perceptions of the social work skills and knowledge acquired through a blend of synchronous and asynchronous approaches to learning. The data for this study was collected through semistructured virtual interviews with 15 undergraduate social work students from a university in Durban, South Africa. The findings illuminate the barriers to learning created by the use of blended learning in social work programs, which include poor access to technology, structural challenges, and poor adjustment and mental health challenges. Students’ resilience and adaptive behaviour were evident in students’ narratives. The findings further demonstrated that the role of lecturers was as critical in supporting the students’ development and acquisition of social work knowledge and skills by taking a more active role in blended teaching and learning. It is recommended that further research focus on equipping lecturers with blended learning design competencies.
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    Exploring the utilisation of Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) services in the Department of Transport KwaZulu-Natal: the perceptions of traffic officers.
    (2023) Zondi, Thobekile Mercy.; Sithole, Mbongeni Shadrack.
    Background It has been noted across the globe, especially in industrialised countries where many companies have invested in EAPs. Improving the conditions in a workplace remains on the agenda in most workplaces, including government. Sufficient literature and experts suggest that the relationship between employer and employee can be improved through Employee Assistance Programmes. The working conditions are such that traffic officers are exposed to trauma on the road. While stress is unavoidable, occupational stressors should be limited and support structures like EAP should be effective in equipping employees with coping mechanisms. The main concern in this study is that there is underutilisation of EAP services. Purpose The purpose of the study was mainly at exploring the perceptions of traffic officers on the utilisation of EAP services in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport. The specific objectives involved the exploration of the perceptions of traffic officers on the relevance and the value of EAP services in promoting their occupational wellness; examining the traffic officers’ understanding of the EAP role in relation to their working conditions; examining the organisation’s strategies enabling the traffic officers in coping with occupational- related challenges and provision of recommendations for the implementation of the EAP in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport. Methodology The study used the qualitative research approach. Data was collected from 28 traffic officers in the Department of Transport in Pietermaritzburg region. The sample was obtained using purposive sampling. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with a voice recorder, and the data was analysed through thematic analysis. Findings The findings of the study were presented in accordance with four main themes and the related subthemes. The themes are summarised as the shared knowledge of EAP, unconducive working conditions, self-created mechanism and contributions by employees. Recommendations Based on the findings, it is recommended that EAP should be marketed to enhance the utilisation and address the myth of the programme. Channels of communication should be available for traffic officers to talk about challenges they face on the road.
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    An exploration of the experiences of social workers and nurses treating HIV/TB patients during the COVID-19 pandemic at King Dinuzulu Hospital in Durban.
    (2023) Thabethe, Thandiwe Bonisiwe.; Seepamore, Boitumelo Khothatso.
    The outbreak of COVID-19, a global health pandemic, created a tsunami of problems resulting in lockdowns as the world grappled to understand and contain its spread and save lives. For King Dinuzulu Hospital, a specialised healthcare centre for the treatment of TB, its designation as a COVID-19 health facility in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, turned it into a facility managing three epidemics, COVID-19, TB and HIV. The main aim of this study was to explore the experiences of public social workers and nurses caring for and treating TB/HIV patients during the COVID-19 pandemic at King Dinuzulu Hospital. This study utilised a qualitative research methodology. Data were collected from 15 HCWs (seven public social workers and eight nurses) selected using a purposive sampling methodology. One-on-one in-depth interviews were conducted. These were guided by an interview guide with open-ended questions, and the collected data were analysed using thematic content analysis. The study revealed that COVID-19 negatively affected the delivery of social work and nursing services at King Dinuzulu Hospital, and HCWs experienced psychological distress due to fear of being infected, infecting their family members and seeing some of their colleagues and patients at KDH die from COVID-19 pandemic. The mitigation measures that were put in place to blunt the full impact of COVID-19 on HCWs providing services to TB/HIV patients, went some way in preventing a total disaster from happening. KDH needs to resolve the shortage of HCWs, provide sufficient PPEs, repair and provide access to telephones/ mobile phones, and provide adequate and conducive offices.
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    Challenges and coping mechanisms of parents of teenage mothers in a pregnancy crisis centre, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa: an exploratory-descriptive study.
    (2023) Manyawu, Vimbai.; Mzinyane, Bongane Morris.
    Teenage pregnancy is a social problem that has been affecting South Africa and many other countries across the world. Teenage pregnancy has long been viewed as affecting both the teenager and their family. Besides the effects on the teenagers themselves, parents of teenage mothers also face multiple and related challenges that are associated with the pregnancy of their teenage daughters and the child-rearing of their grandchildren. However, there is a research gap on the subject of parents of teenage mothers, their unique challenges and coping strategies are not well documented in social work research. This study aimed to explore and describe the challenges and coping mechanisms of parents of teenage mothers. The study adopted a qualitative approach and an interpretivist paradigm, where the participants were selected using a non-probability purposive sampling technique. Due to data saturation, the study reached ten (10) research participants who had accessed the services of Zoe Pregnancy Crisis Centre. Thematic data analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data collected from semi-structured interviews which were conducted individually and face-to-face. The study results show that the causes of teenage pregnancies are diverse. Participants stated that teenage pregnancy is caused by television and social media influence; lack of parental guidance and involvement; poverty; lack of sex education; peer pressure and sexual exploitation. In relation to challenges faced by parents of teenage mothers, the study revealed that they often-experienced financial challenges; family conflicts; stigma and discrimination; and psychological distress. The parents were coping through the use of social support and problem-solving skills. The findings of the study indicated the need to extend support to parents of teenage mothers to minimise the effects of the challenges they face owing to teenage pregnancies. The study contributed to the existing body of knowledge by exploring and describing the challenges faced by and coping mechanisms utilised by parents of teenage mothers. The study has policy implications. The study showed the causes of teenage pregnancies which policymakers should aim to address in order to reduce the prevalence of teenage pregnancies.
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    Understanding burnout amongst social workers in Masvingo, Zimbabwe.
    (2022) Zenda, Kumbirai Petronella.; Sewpaul, Vishanthie.
    Burnout has emerged as a concern among human service workers such as social workers, nurses and doctors. This study was designed to understand burnout amongst social workers in Masvingo, Zimbabwe. This research was motivated by inadequate information regarding burnout amongst social workers, unlike other professions such as teachers. This study contributes to filling the knowledge gap about burnout amongst social workers. The study was designed to understand social workers’ experiences of burnout; factors that contribute to burnout; the coping strategies which social workers can use to cope with burnout; and strategies to prevent burnout. Literature was drawn from the macro-economic contexts of neoliberalism and new public management since they have a direct impact on social welfare organisations and on the psycho-social functioning of social workers on a day-to-day basis. The study was framed by the job demands resource model of burnout and ecological-systems theory. The job demands resource model was crucial in explaining the development of burnout that is through excessive job demands, and lack of availability of resources. The ecological-systems theory was also appropriate because I wanted to understand how social workers experience burnout and this theory helps to understand burnout from multi-systemic levels. A qualitative research method was used. In-depth interviews were conducted with fifteen participants from three non-governmental organisations with five participants from organisation C, four from organisation B and six from organisation A. The interviews were conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic, hence the regulations which were put in place by the government were maintained. Due to this pandemic some of the interview sessions were diverted to individual zoom calls. With the participants’ permission, the sessions were tape-recorded. The material was analysed according to the descriptive research design. The themes that emerged related to factors that predispose social workers to burnout, which include: high workload, the influence of Covid-19, lack of resources and lack of organisational support, and top-down bureaucratic supervision that minimised autonomy on the job. The study concluded that high workload was the major factor which exposed social workers to burnout. Self-care measures and social support strategies emerged as burnout coping strategies that social workers can utilise. Based on the study findings appropriate recommendations are made at personal, organisational and political levels to deal with the effects of burnout and to prevent burnout. Recommendations for further research are also made.
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    Perceptions of parents, caregivers and social workers on recidivism in children who have completed a diversion programme in Amajuba District of KwaZulu-Natal Province.
    (2022) Sibisi, Busisiwe Mavis.; Mazibuko, Ntombifikile.
    Crime is a serious cause for concern for every nation and more worrisome is the involvement of children in criminal activities. The South African government has an obligation to ensure that children found to be in conflict with the law benefit from diversion and other legal alternatives to the greatest extent possible. The Child Justice Act (Act No. 75 of 2008) provides for the diversion of such children, with experts recommending that parents and caregivers monitoring their compliance with these diversion orders. The study seeks to establish the views of parents and caregivers regarding the factors contributing to reoffending among children who have completed the diversion programme and how they perceive their role when children going through the diversion programme. The study further examines social workers’ experience in working with the parents and caregivers of the young re-offenders, particularly the services and support offered to parents and caregivers. This study employed qualitative research methodology, specifically interviews to solicit data from the participants. This methodology fostered an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon being explored. The interviewees were parents, caregivers of the children who reoffend after completing the diversion programme and social workers who had been working with the young re-offenders’ families. In addition to primary data, secondary data were used to complement raw data collected from the field. The thematic analysis was used to analyse data. The theoretical paradigm supporting the study is interpretative and it was applied to encompass participants’ varied views. The study found that the parents and caregivers experience emotions such as shock, anger, frustration and disorientation at their children’s arrest and the subsequent appearances before the courts. The parents and caregivers experience emotional strain as a result of the monitoring role they assume to ensure children’s compliance with diversion orders. The study further revealed that the parents and caregivers need support services to help them cope with the child’s arrest and the subsequent diversion. Thus, the study recommends that parents and caregivers be included in the diversion programme to bring about a more positive impact. Aftercare and follow-up services have to be rendered to all the children who would have completed the diversion programme. The study further recommends the drawing of a policy that raises parenting skills for parents and caregivers of the children in constant conflict with the law.
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    Social media usage and life satisfaction among undergraduate students at a South African university.
    (2022) Sibisi, Nomfundo Tracy.; John-Langba, Johannes.
    The study sought to investigate the relationship between social media and life satisfaction among University of KwaZulu Natal students. The study was conducted at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Howard Campus. The study employed the quantitative methodology. Time-Location Sampling (also known as venue sampling) was used to select 100 social work students at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Howard campus. For data gathering, a structured questionnaire was administered to students from the Life Satisfaction scale. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SSPS) and interpreted in the manner thereafter. A total of 100 participants answered the questionnaire. The Kai square test of independence was tested between social media usage and life satisfaction and the results indicate that the association was not significant. Further, the Kai square test was also taken for social media and gender and results suggests that there is no difference between male and female when it comes to social media use. Accordingly, the study recommends the introduction of social media education as an extra curriculum programme taking cognizance of a fundamental need to raise awareness on privacy, cyberbullying, and the dangers of meeting with online strangers.
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    Exploring the experiences of young women’s transition from childhood to adulthood: case study of Inanda Township in Durban.
    (2023) Nene, Senamile Agnes.; Sithole, Mbongeni Shadrack.
    The transition from childhood to adulthood is well known in the human race because it is inevitable that humans grow. This phenomenon is simple yet complex because people transition to adulthood at some stage of human development. Its complexity comes from the fact that, while there may be personal and societal factors determining the process, the experience turns out to be unique for each individual. Social factors, personal choices and experiences have been noted by various scholars as infusing the uniqueness in the experience of the transition of young people to adulthood. The researcher was drawn to explore the experiences of young women's transition to adulthood at Inanda Township. The interest started with the question of what it takes for a girl child to become an adult at Inanda Township. The researcher was intrigued mainly by dynamic nature of factors in this area that make the transition unique and how they shape the young person’s experience. Location played a huge role in the study in various ways. The gendered nature of transition to adulthood is worth noting. There is a greater vulnerability in women compared to men. The world still regards women as significantly more vulnerable compared to their male counterparts. The researcher wanted to explore how female children experience their transition to adulthood, specifically in South African townships. While there is much controversy around the age of the transition to adulthood, the study findings revealed that young women of Inanda describe the transitional stage to adulthood as ranging from the age of 16 up to 21. In this period, the main focus of the young person is acquiring an education. Financial challenges were the leading contributory factors of the derailment of young people from achieving their goals. There was also an indication of a lack of support from some parents during this period, the participants regarded as making them vulnerable. As a result, some young women find themselves having to navigate life without proper guidance. Some find themselves engaging in activities that the law and culture regard as privileges for adults such as sex, drugs and alcohol. The state of Inanda Township was mentioned as influencing how young women transition to adulthood. The lack of economic activities and the high unemployment rate in the area makes it less motivating for young women transitioning to adulthood. There are notable cultural influences on young women's transition, which inflicted stricter rules towards women than men.
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    Investigating the acceptability of unsupervised/private HIV self-testing among young male students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2022) Mhlongo, Sanele.; Seepamore, Boitumelo Khothatso.
    Globally only 84% of individuals knew that they were living with HIV by 2020 (UNIAIDS, 2021; WHO, 2021). Young people are a growing proportion of individuals living with HIV who do not know their status and there is a growing need for innovative HIV testing methods such as the HIV Self Test (HIVST). Unlike traditional testing methods, HIVST offers privacy for patients, low cost and thus it is a much-needed method to increase youth testing and knowledge of their HIV status. This study investigated the knowledge and acceptability of male student’s unsupervised HIVST at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The study utilized a cross-sectional quantitative methodology, and the theory of Planned behaviour guided the study analysis and discussions. This research study used numerous scales to measure participant’s attitudes towards HIVST, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control towards the HIVST. In this investigation, 99 male students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal were sampled using time location sampling. The findings of this study suggest that perceived behavioural control with (positive correlation of .289 with a p-value of .004 at an alpha level of .001) and attitude with (positive correlation of .310 with a P-value .002 at an Alpha level of .001) are the most influential factors for young male youth to use the HIVST. At the same time, the subjective norm is not statistically significant (negative correlation and P-value .067) in influencing the intention to use the HIVST. Younger males aged between 18-21 years were much less likely to test for HIV in general than older youth males above the age of 21 years, who were more likely to be tested or test for HIV in general.
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    School-based violence: exploring educator’s perceptions and experiences at the Gem Combined School in Mpumalanga.
    (2022) Malindisa, Xolani Cyprian.; Zengele, Patricia Bongi.
    This study focused on school-based violence as it become a global issue. It was designed to understand the experiences and perceptions of teachers at The Gem Combined School in Mpumalanga. The main aim of the study was to understand the perceptions and experiences of educators understanding about school-based violence. It sought to answer the following questions: What are the prevalent forms of school-based violence in school? What is the nature and extent of school-based violence in the school? What are the effects of violence on educators? What are the support structures put in place to assist educators manage school-based violence? The theoretical framework that guided this research study is the ecological systems and Differential Association theory. This qualitative study explored how educators perceived and experienced school-based violence through semi-structured interviews. Semi structured interviews were used to obtain data from the 15 voluntary participants from The Gem Combined school. Purposive sampling as a technique was used for the selection of participants of this study. The participants comprised of teachers at the school, and principal with no restriction of the number of years in practice. The research findings were analysed using thematic content analysis. The findings of the study show that educators are exposed to violent behaviours from learner. Furthermore, results indicated that school-based violence disturbs the teaching and learning. Educators are suffering to manage and deal with delinquent, deviant or related behaviours from learners. There is a lack of supportive structures that are aimed at intervening. There is a greater need for social workers in schools who will provide psychosocial support to learners and inversely assist the educators in addressing school-based violence
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    University students’ lived experiences of parenting while studying at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2022) Mbuyazi, Snenhlanhla Nginaphi.; Seepamore, Boitumelo Khothatso.
    Education is believed to provide knowledge and skills that hold the potential for economic empowerment, better livelihood, and social development. However, in traditional society, a man is perceived as the head of the family and a provider, while a woman is perceived as a home keeper and must be trained to provide care. This role is difficult, and more so when one is a student. This study aimed to explore lived experiences of university students who are parenting while studying. This qualitative study included fifteen students who were purposively sampled and interviewed individually using a semi-structured interview schedule. The key findings indicated that young parents are struggling to balance their dual roles of full-time university students and parents, distance from their children was a significant issue, and many had financial challenges. For the male participants, the payment of damages was a major issue, while rejection by fathers of their children was significant for the female participants.
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    Exploring heterosexual students' attitudes towards students who identify as gay and lesbian at the Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2022) Base, Mandisa.; Seepamore, Boitumelo Khothatso.
    LGBTQIA+ students seem to be the most marginalised group in the university environment. Homosexual attacks, discrimination, oppression, verbal harassment, and physical threats reflect negative attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ students on the Howard University campus. Numerous factors play a role in influencing attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ students such as culture, religion, social media, and derogatory language that is used against LGBTQIA+. This study adopted a qualitative approach to explore the attitudes of heterosexual students towards LGBTQIA+ students on campus. Ten participants were interviewed using an interview schedule, and data were analysed using thematic analysis. The study’s findings show that negative attitudes towards gay and lesbian students at UKZN still exist, and male heterosexual students have more negative attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ than female heterosexual students. The main themes that emerged from the study show that verbal harassment and physical threats are common toward gay and lesbian students on campus. The study’s findings provide insight into the attitudes of heterosexual students towards students who identify as gay and lesbian. The recommendations from the study are that educational institutions develop strategies for integrating LGBTQIA+ students into the higher education system by ensuring a support system and appropriate organisational responses to specifically address these issues. The study further recommends that the university give specific support by hiring social workers to provide attitude-responsive educational programmes and participate in policy development at the university management level.
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    Exploring health social work practitioners' experiences in working with health practitioners within a multidisciplinary healthcare setting.
    (2021) Maxhakana, Zama Immaculate.; Sithole, Mbongeni Shadrack.
    This article explores how social work practitioners work with health practitioners within a multidisciplinary team. This was a moment for health social work practitioners to deliberate about themselves regarding their experiences in working with health practitioners. The research focused on how health professionals work, communicate, and learn together. The research is vital in attempting to comprehend social workers' encounters in working with health professionals, the understanding of their roles and the professional boundaries in the multidisciplinary team. The literature revealed that social workers are frequently identified as non-essential experts in this host setting, where professional competence, control, including respect remain centred around doctors. The qualitative research approach consisting of the combination of an exploratory and descriptive research design was adopted for this study. A purposeful sampling technique was used to select the participants from health facilities who fall under the King Cetshwayo Health District Forum. Study permission was granted by the District Manager and the ethical permission was secured from the Provincial Health Research and Ethics Committee and the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee, respectively. Semi-structured telephonic interviews were held with 16 participants. All the participants were full-time public health employees and were mostly females. The interview schedule was piloted with three participants who then gave feedback regarding the questions. The data was analysed using thematic analysis and three themes emerged from this process. The three main themes can be summarised as professional power dynamics, a lack of collaborative efforts, and a lack of understanding of the social work profession. The study concluded that social work practitioners perceived the overall collaboration as positive. However, concerns were raised regarding the existence of power dynamics that hindered collaboration.
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    Exploring the involvement of non-resident fathers and their perception of parenting children aged 0-3 years from single mother households in eThekwini, South Africa.
    (2021) Ngubane, Samkelisiwe Purity.; Mthembu, Maud Nombulelo.
    Many South African children are raised in single-mother households with the limited and sometimes no involvement of their fathers. With not more than 29% of young African children live with both biological parents and 46% live with their mothers only but not their fathers. These figures emphasize the limited presence of biological fathers in the lives of their children at young age. Additionally, their participation in parenting children aged 0-3 years was found unsatisfactory compared to older children. Evidence from research confirms that children aged 0-3 years are most vulnerable, and this is a substantial period for a child to respond to the environment, affectionateness, and responsive interactions with adults. Therefore, non-resident fathers’ involvement in this significant stage of the child’s development is significant. Other view suggests that regardless of many fathers being absent in residences where their children are residing, they are involved in their children's lives. Hence the study investigated their involvement. The study explored the involvement of non-resident fathers and their perception of parenting children aged 0-3 years from single mother households in eThekwini, South Africa. This qualitative study recruited fifteen non-resident fathers as participants through purposive sampling. The data was gathered using telephonic semi-structured interviews. The audio-taped data was transcribed, coded and interpreted to generate themes, categories and sub-categories. The results of the study indicate that the provider role was a dominant responsibility which connected non-resident fathers to their children. However, interacting with their children and spending quality time with the child was perceived by the non-resident fathers as their primary responsibility. Therefore, both non-financial and financial roles were perceived as active ways through which non-resident fathers participate and remain involved in parenting. Regardless of the physical distance between the child and the non-resident father, father’s involvement was playing their roles and responsibilities should always remain. This study recommends that coordinated efforts by the government, traditional authorities, non-resident fathers, single mothers, extended families and the community at large is needed to encourage the involvement of non-resident fathers in parenting their children from single mother households. Moreover, a healthy relationship and communication between biological mothers and non-resident fathers is critical in encouraging fathers’ involvement.
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    Exploring employees’ perceptions and understandings of mental illness in the workplace: a case study of employees of eThekwini Municipality.
    (2021) Dudeni, Nokuzola S'Phiwe Sindisiwe.; Zibane, Sibonsile Zerurcia.
    This study explored EThekwini municipality employees’ perceptions and understanding of mental illnesses in the workplace. Furthermore, the researcher wanted to understand the ways in which support for mental illnesses or mental health related issues is provided. This study aimed to uncover employees’ perceptions, knowledge, and beliefs about mental illness. The study draws from the belief that mental health issues are stigmatised and poorly addressed in the workplace due to a lack of knowledge. This impacts on the wellbeing and recovery of mental health sufferers, thus, negatively impacting on productivity and job security. The study adopted a qualitative research design positioned within the interpretivist paradigm. Purposive and snowballing sampling methods were used to select eighteen participants. Data was collected using a semi-structured interview guide from a sample of eighteen participants in the EThekwini municipality Water and Sanitation department (EWS). Data were analysed using the thematic content analysis. The research findings established that mental illnesses are caused by psychosocial problems and certain beliefs about life in general. Importantly, the study revealed that mental illness is prevalent among female employees at the EThekwini municipality Water and Sanitation department. Additionally, the findings suggest that the provision of constructive guidance and support to all the EWS employees with mental illnesses will aid in addressing mental illnesses at EWS. EThekwini municipality needs to create programmes and policies that will educate and normalise mental illnesses in the workplace to reduce stigma. This will be achieved by improved and sustained communication and collaboration at an organisational and managerial level between all EWS employees, EWS management and the social worker.
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    Family adjustment and support interventions in foster care families: experiences of caregivers and social workers in the Amajuba District.
    (2020) Nkosi, Winnie Buyisiwe.; Mthembu, Maud Nombulelo.
    Approximately 5.7 million children in South Africa are orphans. Many of these children are in foster care; a form of care for children in need of care and protection and without parental care. In South Africa, kinship care, also known as extended family care, is traditional feature and an essential child protection system in most African families. However, little research is available to understand foster care families' adjustment and available support. The motivation to conduct the research emerged from the researcher’s ten-year experience working with foster care families and foster children. For the purposes of this study, a descriptive research design was chosen. This design complemented the qualitative approach as it was applied throughout the study. Descriptive designs are aimed at accurately describing phenomena (Terre Blanche, Durrheim, & Painter, 2006). The researcher observed their struggles in trying to live together and juggling external influences from society and their own extended families. The study incorporated qualitative research methods to explore child and families’ adjustments and access to support interventions in foster care families that are used. Focus group and individual interviews were used to collect data from nine caregivers and three social workers at Amajuba District. The ecological framework provided a theoretical lens to explore the interaction between foster care families and different environmental systems that influence family adjustment and access and availability of support networks. Findings revealed that in contemporary times, foster care families are confronted with a range of social and family difficulties. The need for social support programmes for caregivers and foster children were reported as one of the greatest needs to support the transition and adjustment process. Research also indicated the absence of programmes designed to support foster care families. There are no formal foster care groups for caregivers and support groups for foster children. The research further pointed out that there are no pre-and post-training sessions provided to caregivers as support mechanisms to deal with challenges. There was limited contact between caregivers and social workers; they would only communicate if it is time for a review of court order. Employment and training of social workers and provisionof adequate resources will enable them to render on-going support to caregivers and foster children for positive outcomes towards their psycho-social well-being. Additional social workers will help reduce high caseloads and eradicate foster care backlog. The study intends to provide a foundation for further studies as well as adding to the existing body of knowledge in social work practice, specifically in the field of child care and protection The researcher anticipates that the study results will contribute to child protection literature and improve child protection services delivered to children in need of care and protection.
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    The relationship between depression, HIV stigma and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) among adult patients living with HIV at a tertiary hospital in Durban, South Africa: the mediating roles of self-efficacy and social support.
    (2021) Luthuli, Muziwandile Qiniso.; John-Langba, Johannes.
    Although, numerous factors predicting adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) have been broadly studied on both regional and global level, up-to-date adherence of patients to ART remains an overarching, dynamic and multifaceted problem that needs to be investigated overtime and across various contexts. There is a rarity of empirical data in the literature on interactive mechanisms by which psychosocial factors influence adherence to ART among PLWHA within the South African context. Therefore, this study was, designed to investigate the relationship between depression, HIV stigma and adherence to ART among adult patients living with HIV at a tertiary hospital in Durban, South Africa and the mediating roles of self-efficacy and social support. The Health Locus of Control Theory and the Social Support Theory were the underlying theoretical frameworks for this study. Using a cross-sectional research design, a total of 201 male and female adult patients aged between 18-75 years receiving ART at a tertiary hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal were sampled, using time location sampling (TLS). A self-administered questionnaire was employed to collect the data in this study. Data were analysed through SPSS version 27. Several statistical analyses were conducted in this study, namely univariate statistical analysis, correlational analysis, Pearson’s chi-square analysis, cross-tabulation analysis, binary logistic regression analysis, and mediational analysis. Univariate analysis indicated that the sample mean age was 39.28 years (SD=12.115), while most participants were females 71.0% (n=142), never married 74.2% (n=147) and most were also secondary school educated 48.3% (n=97), as well as unemployed 65.7% (n=132). The prevalence rate of participants had high adherence to ART was 53.7% (n=108), and 46.3% (n=93) of participants had low adherence to ART. Chi-square analysis revealed that employment status was the only statistically significant socio-demographic influence of adherence to ART in this study (χ2 (3) = 8.745; p < .033). Chi-square analysis showed that there was a statistically significant difference found between depression and adherence to ART (χ2 (4) = 16.140; p < .003), while between HIV stigma and adherence to ART no statistically significant difference was found (χ2 (1) = .323; p >.570). Binary logistic regression indicated that depression was statistically associated with adherence to ART (OR= .853; 95% CI, .789–.922, P<001), while the association between self-efficacy and adherence to ART was statistically significant (OR= 1.04; 95% CI, 1.001– 1.078, P<.045) after controlling for the effect of depression. However, the findings showed that the effect of depression on adherence to ART was not significantly mediated by self-efficacy (Sobel test for indirect effect, Z= 1.01, P> 0.31). Binary logistic regression showed that, the effect of HIV stigma on adherence to ART was not statistically significant (OR= .980; 95% CI, .937– 1.025, P>.374), but the effect of social support on adherence to ART was statistically significant, only after the effect of HIV stigma was controlled for (OR= 1.017; 95% CI, 1.000– 1.035, P<.046). This study promotes behavioral and social change effected through evidence-based interventions by emphasizing the need for additional research that investigates the interactive mechanisms by which psychosocial factors influence adherence to ART. Depression is a significant predictor of adherence to ART. Thus, to alleviate the psychosocial impact of depression on adherence to ART, effective interventions must be devised, along with a special consideration of self-efficacy and social support. Therefore, this study is helpful in informing and effecting change in health policy, and healthcare services through its findings.