A model for the integration of primary health care services in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Sibiya, Maureen Nokuthula
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BACKGROUND In South Africa, Integration of Services Policy was enacted in 1996 with the aim of increasing health service utilization by increasing the accessibility of all services at Primary Health Care (PHC) level. However, the problem with the policy arises in the implementation of integrated PHC (IPHC) as there is no agreed upon understanding of what this phenomenon means in the South African context. Hence, there is a need for shared views on this phenomenon. METHODS A cross-sectional study, using a qualitative approach was employed in this study in order to analyze IPHC in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). A grounded theory approach was selected as it is a method known for its ability to make the greatest contribution in areas where little research has been done and when new viewpoints are needed to describe the familiar phenomenon that is not clearly understood. Policy makers and co-ordinators of PHC at national, provincial and district levels as well as PHC nurses at functional level participated in the study. The data was collected by means of observations and interviews. The sample size for interviews was comprised of 38 participants. RESULTS It emerged that there were three core categories that were used by the participants as discriminatory dimensions of IPHC in South Africa. These core categories were (a) comprehensive health care, (b) supermarket approach and (c) one stop shop. Based on the findings of the study, it was concluded that the phenomenon, IPHC meant different things in different contexts.