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An exploratory analysis of differently focused women's organizations in community development and health.

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Two research methods, a correlational survey and a case study method were used to explore the impact of health focused and economic focused women's organizations on community development and health. Through the study the following questions were answered: (i) Is there a difference in the health and development indicators of the households of Elim Care Group Project members, Akanani members and members of the community who do not belong to any of the organizations? (ii) What contribution have these organizations made to individuals' and/or communities' way of life? (iii) What aspects of these organizations' structure and/or function strengthen or weaken the organization? For the correlational survey, quantitative data were collected from three categories of thirty households each that belonged to Care Group members, Akanani members and community members who did not belong to any organization. The analysis of the data showed that both the health focused and economic focused organizations kept their focus even though their functioning tended to overlap. The health focused group had a greater impact on health indicators e.g. number of diarrhoea episodes, respiratory tract infection episodes, nutritional state, while the economic focused group had greater impact on development indicators e.g. housing, income and education. The improvement in the development indicators did not influence the health indicators directly. The qualitative data collected for the case study provided an indepth information about the case studied. The health focused organization demonstrated stability in its management. This was composed of health personnel under the employment of the Department of Health Managing the Care Group was a paid job for them. The organization was established and supported by the community and therefore expressed the community's concerns. The economic focused organization provided opportunities for the rural people to establish money making enterprises. Some of the problems shown in this study in this regard relate to poor managerial and business skills that resulted in the production of products that were not readily marketable in the locality. This caused a lot of anxiety amongst members as earnings were irregular. The differences in the structure and functioning of the groups were analysed. These influenced the effectiveness and continued viability of the organizations.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Durban, 1996.


Women's health services--South Africa., Theses--Nursing., Elim Health Care Group Project (Limpopo Province), Community health services--Limpopo Province--Hlanganani.