Original Research

Strategies that enabled access to chronic care during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond in South Africa

Sheillah H. Mboweni
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 29 | a2412 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v29i0.2412 | © 2024 Sheillah H. Mboweni | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 April 2023 | Published: 29 March 2024

About the author(s)

Sheillah H. Mboweni, Department of Health Studies, Collage of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 epidemic has revealed disturbing information about how chronic diseases are treated globally. Healthcare providers and coronavirus response teams have primarily reported on how individuals with chronic conditions sought care and treatment. However, individuals’ experiences of patients are yet unknown.

Aim: This study aimed to explore those strategies that enabled patients with chronic diseases access to chronic care and treatment during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Setting: The study was conducted in the predominantly rural district of the Northwest Province, South Africa.

Methods: An explorative qualitative research design was followed. Information-rich participants were chosen using a purposive sampling technique. Individual face-to-face interviews were used to gather data. Data saturation was achieved after interviewing n = 28 people in total. The six steps of Braun and Clarke thematic data analysis were used to analyse the data.

Results: The study revealed three themes, which includes improved healthcare structural systems, shift from traditional chronic care to digital care services and medication refill and buddy system.

Conclusion: The findings of this study revealed a range of effective and noteworthy approaches that facilitated access to treatment and continuity of care. As a result, enhancing telemedicine as well as structural systems such as appointment scheduling, decanting choices, mobile and medication home delivery can improve access to care and treatment.

Contribution: The burden of disease and avoidable death will be eventually addressed by maximising the use of telemedicine and sustaining the new norm of ongoing care through digital and remote care and decanting strategies.


Keywords

chronic care; enabling strategies; patients with chronic diseases; treatment; access to care.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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