Antiretroviral treatment and the health workforce in South Africa: how have ART workers been affected by scaling up?

Article


Tobi, Patrick, George, Gavin, Schmidt, Elena and Renton, A. 2008. Antiretroviral treatment and the health workforce in South Africa: how have ART workers been affected by scaling up? Tropical Medicine and International Health. 13 (12), pp. 1452-1458.
AuthorsTobi, Patrick, George, Gavin, Schmidt, Elena and Renton, A.
Abstract

objective To investigate the effect of scaling up antiretroviral treatment (ART) on the working
environment and motivation of health workers in South Africa; and to suggest strategies to minimize
negative effects and maximise positive effects.
methods Exploratory interviews with health managers and senior clinical staff were used to identify
locally relevant work environment indicators. A self -reported Likert scale questionnaire was administered
to a randomly selected cohort of 269 health professionals at health facilities in KwaZulu Natal and
Western Cape provinces of South Africa that included ART delivery sites. The cohort was disaggregated
into ART and non-ART groups and differences between the two compared with Fisher’s exact test and
the non-parametric Mann–Whitney U-test.
results The ART sub-cohort reported: (i) a lighter workload (P = 0.013), (ii) higher level of staffing
(P = 0.010), (iii) lower sickness absence (P = 0.032), (iv) higher overall job satisfaction (P = 0.010), (v)
poorer physical state of their work premises (P = 0.003), and (vi) higher staff turnover (P = 0.036).
conclusion Scale-up affects the work environment in ways that influence workers’ motivation both
positively and negatively. A net negative balance is likely to drive staff out-migration, undermine the
quality of care and compromise the capacity of the programme to achieve significant scale. As health
workers are the most important element of the health system, a comprehensive and systematic understanding
of scale-up impacts on their working conditions and motivation needs to be an integral part of
any delivery strategy.

KeywordsHIV; AIDS; antiretroviral therapy; health workforce; health system; South Africa
JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
Journal citation13 (12), pp. 1452-1458
ISSN1360-2276
Year2008
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2008.02169.x
http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1135
Publication dates
PrintDec 2008
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Jan 2011
Additional information

Citation:
Tobi, P., George, G., Schmidt, E., Renton, A. (2008) ‘Antiretroviral treatment and the health workforce in South Africa: how have ART workers been affected by scaling up?’ Tropical Medicine and International Health 13 (12) pp.1452-1458.

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