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Mediclinic News : High walls prevent health researchers getting data

Title

High walls prevent health researchers getting data

Date

2016-08-24

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News Description

CAPE ARGUS The Medical Research Council (MRC) has raised concerns about the inaccessibility of some of the country's leafy suburbs, saying high walls and excessive security measures by residents is preventing its field workers from collecting crucial health information from these neighbourhoods. The council, which is conducting the South African Demographic and Health Survey (SADHS) 2016, said many South Africans have been cooperative in working with researchers in providing the needed data, but information from affluent suburbs was difficult to come by due to poor access. The survey, which is done by the MRC in partnership with Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) and the national Department of Health, is aimed to provide a better understanding of the health status of the population of the country. It looks at various health aspects, including a focus on maternal and child health care, reproductive health services and services for common chronic diseases and nutrition. The information, which is being collected, will assist the health authorities to plan and prioritise health programmes and service delivery. It also provides an opportunity for household members to understand their individual health status. About 15 000 homes across the country had been selected to participate and data collection teams that include trained nurses are conducting interviews and medical tests in each household that form part of the study. But Debbie Bradshaw, unit director at MRC's Burden of Disease Research Unit, said without information from the country's affluent, the research was likely to be distorted. "Our teams collecting data for national surveys do find it difficult to access middleclass households. Security measures such as high walls and security dogs make it difficult to access houses in the suburbs," she said. "However, without data from individuals from this sector of the population, survey results end up being skewed, with the needs of this group of people un-reflected. Planning for the National Health Insurance (NHI) makes it essential to get the full picture," Bradshaw said. She urged the households that are selected for inclusion in the survey to accept the invitation to participate because planning for improved health services in the country depended on complete and reliable data from surveys such as this. The survey promises to provide the country with key health indicators as well as information about how well South African health services are meeting the needs of the population. The survey fieldwork started in June and is set to be completed in October. Information is collected by means of face-to-face interviews with the adults who live in different households across the country. These households have been carefully selected to be nationally representative, based on a random sample of households in each province. "We currently have 30 teams across the country and have completed one third of the data collection," said Bradshaw. She stressed that it was essential to ensure users of both private healthcare services as well as the public sector participated in the survey to ensure a complete picture of the country's health care is obtained.
Created at 2016/09/01 10:23 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/09/01 10:23 AM by Mediclinic