An exploration of environmental understanding among primary health care providers in an Eastern Cape community

Hepburn, Mary Patricia (1999) An exploration of environmental understanding among primary health care providers in an Eastern Cape community. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




This study explores environmental understanding among the health care practitioners serving a rural community in the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. During the preliminary phases of the research, the decision was made to adopt a participatory approach to the inquiry as far as was possible. Semi-structured interviews, participant observation and focus group discussions were the techniques chosen to focus the participants' thinking about: the meaning of environment, environmental issues and problems which impact on health, and, environmental education in practice. Comparisons between the recently transformed health education idea proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO), known as "health promotion", and a popular environmental education model are made. It is argued that many of the obstacles to effective health education described by the participants in the study can be overcome by using environmental educationlhealth promotion approaches. The findings show that the health practitioners studied relate to a wide range of environmental issues with varying levels of engagement. They are influenced by changing values, their feelings about indigenous knowledge, and their notions about how people should respond to the environment. An urgent need for more and better communication among the different levels of health practitioners is identified. Finally, it is recommended that health care practitioners be supported with opportunities for professional development which can lead to a confident, seIfreflective approach to health education.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Environmental education, Rural health care, Medical, South Africa, Eastern Cape
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
ID Code:2850
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:22 May 2012 09:30
Last Modified:22 May 2012 09:30
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