Chiropractic and public health : a study on the perceptions and attitudes of chiropractors on health promotion and disease prevention in South Africa
Ford, Timothy William
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Considering the quadruple burden of disease and chronic shortages of health care professionals in South Africa, the stance of the chiropractic profession on public health (PH) matters has not been established. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the attitudes and perceptions of chiropractors practicing in South Africa on PH, health promotion (HP) and disease prevention (DP). The objectives were to determine demographic profile, lifestyle practices and attitudes and perceptions of practicing chiropractors in South Africa regarding PH agencies, HP and DP. Methods: An IRB approved quantitative survey (electronic and postal) was used to collect data from a total sample of practicing chiropractors in South Africa (meeting inclusion criteria). Follow up email and telephone calls were made to encourage response from participants. After a 17 - week period, returned questionnaires were collected and data analysed. Results: A response rate of 45% was obtained. Of the participants, 51.7% were female, 60.3% practiced in upper – middle income communities and 66.4% perceived themselves as neuro - musculoskeletal specialists. Over 90% of practitioners regularly counselled patients on postural habits, injury prevention and ergonomic risk reduction. Where as 35.1% agreed to counselling patients on STI / HIV prevention, tobacco cessation and related risks (41.4%), alcohol abuse (53.4%) and cancer prevention (56.9%). Regarding evidence – based practice (EBP) and PH agencies, 39.1% could not identify the statistical significance of the p value and 46% were unable to provide examples to journals they used to inform best practice. Similarly, 59% of the participants could not identify PH agencies to refer to for information on smoking cessation / risks or PH agencies to refer patients on HIV (57%), notifiable diseases (59%) and terminal illnesses (45%). Conclusion: The results suggest that chiropractors from this study were proficient on topics of DP, but were reletively less proficient in regards to PH, HP and EBP. It was recommended that further research be done regarding EBP within the profession and that greater emphasis be placed on topics of HP and PH in chiropractic training programmes.