Original Research

The meaning of community involvement in health: the perspective of primary health care communities

GG Mchunu, NS Gwele
Curationis | Vol 28, No 2 | a943 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v28i2.943 | © 2005 GG Mchunu, NS Gwele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2005 | Published: 28 September 2005

About the author(s)

GG Mchunu, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
NS Gwele, Durban institute of technology ‘ (note during the course of this study: University of KwaZulu-Natal), South Africa

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The goal of this study was to establish the understanding and appreciation of the essence of PHC principles in the two Primary Health Care (PHC) communities. The PHC communities in this study referred to the people who were involved in the operation of the phenomenon, that is health professionals working in the health care centers and the communities served by these health care centers. It was hoped that the study would enhance the understanding of the importance of community involvement in health (CIH) in health care delivery, for both community members and health professionals.
A case study method was used to conduct the study. Two community health centers in the Ethekwini health district, in Kwa Zulu Natal, were studied. One health center was urban based, the other was rural based. A sample of 31 participants participated in the study. The sample comprised of 8 registered nurses, 2 enrolled nurses, 13 community members and 8 community health workers. Data was collected using individual interviews and focus groups, and was guided by the case study protocol. The findings of the study revealed that in both communities, participants had different, albeit complementary, understanding of the term ‘Community Involvement in Health’ (CIH). Essentially, for these participants, CIH meant collaboration, co-operation and involvement in decision-making.


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