Status of undergraduate community-based and public-health physiotherapy education in South Africa
Frantz, Jose M.
Van Rooijen, T.
MetadataShow full item record
Curricula of health education institutions therefore need to be periodically revised to be aligned with its context. This study explored the status physiotherapy curricula in South Africa (SA) as point of departure for benchmarking by individual institutions. A document analysis was done of the university physiotherapy departments (N=8) in South Africa. Institutional ethical clearance and permission from the heads of departments were obtained. Content analysis was used to analyse the South African Qualifications Authority exit-level outcomes and the university study guides for community placements. Most universities employed a form of service-learning, with interventions in a range of settings. Five themes emerged: practice of evidence-based physiotherapy, rendering physiotherapy services, acting professionally, communication, and collaboration. The country’s priority conditions were addressed. Teaching-earning strategies included group activities (class or education sessions), community projects, home visits and portfolios of evidence. Personal and small-group reflections were prominent. The undergraduate community physiotherapy curricula in South Africa address the health profile of the population and priorities in the health system to different degrees. The variation between universities should be interpreted with caution as the study guides only gave a limited snapshot into each institution’s curriculum. However, findings suggest that each physiotherapy university department may have gaps in preparing physiotherapy undergraduate students for the needs of the South African population and expectations of the Government. Possible ways to share teaching-learning resources are recommended.