In Practice

Systems thinking: A turning point for improving respectful obstetric care in South African health districts

S Oosthuizen, A-M Bergh, R C Pattinson

Abstract


Poorly functioning health systems and local health systems barriers affect many women giving birth in low- and middle-income countries. The district clinical specialist teams in South Africa are uniquely positioned to provide facilitation and mentoring during interventions for improving the weak primary healthcare system. To ensure success, four key principles should be considered during scale-up of interventions: systems thinking and awareness of contexts and barriers; a focus on sustainability; harnessing factors known to enhance scalability; and respect for human rights and equity. Asking the right questions about the responsibilities of health systems at the micro-, meso- and macro-levels will benefit scale-up processes and sustain innovative pathways to high-quality obstetric care in communities.


Authors' affiliations

S Oosthuizen, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

A-M Bergh, South African Medical Research Council Maternal and Infant Health Care Strategies Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

R C Pattinson, South African Medical Research Council Maternal and Infant Health Care Strategies Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Full Text

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Keywords

Health systems thinking; District clinical specialist teams; Turning point; Respectful obstetric care

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2018;108(11):910-914. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2018.v108i11.13312

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-10-26
Date published: 2018-10-26

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