The management of minor health ailments by doctors, clinical nurse practitioners and clients at the primary level of care in Cape Town
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INTRODUCTION: Community Health Centres (CHCs) are overcrowded. The overcrowding poses a problem to health professionals as they are in charge of screening clients and the management of minor health ailments (MHA) in the primary health care setting. METHODOLOGY: The aim of this study was to describe and compare the perceptions and attitudes of clients presenting with MHA to those of doctors and clinical nurse practitioners (CNPs) (health professionals) at the CHCs regarding the management of MHA. The study was conducted at the four selected CHC in Khayelitsha and Phillipi, Cape Town. Information was collected from 100 clients and 15 health professionals. Data was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively and the descriptive method was used. RESULTS: All three groups had similar perceptions of what MHAs are and how MHA should be managed. There were different perceptions regarding where these ailments should be managed. The doctors and CNPs were frustrated and felt overburdened by clients presenting with MHA. Doctors were of the opinion that educating clients about the management of these ailments would alleviate their load. CONCLUSION: Health education was identified as a tool that could assist in the situation of managing MHA and as the key underpinning principle for the delivery of comprehensive primary health care (PHC).