|A physician working in a community health centre in KwaZulu-Natal
Levels of infant, child and maternal mortality are unacceptably high in South Africa. To reverse this, the government has agreed to establish teams of clinical specialists in every health district.
Many provinces already have outreach specialist services and family physicians working in the districts. The idea is to formalise the composition and function of these teams and to ensure that all districts are covered.
The role of district clinical specialist teams (DCSTs) will be to strengthen clinical governance of maternal, neonatal and child health services at district hospitals and primary health care facilities. They will ensure that the correct treatment guidelines and clinical protocols will be used and that essential equipment is available and being used correctly. Other tasks will be to ensure that good quality mortality review meetings are held and that recommendations from these meetings are implemented. The specialist teams will also supervise and mentor clinicians and monitor health outcomes.
The teams will comprise four experienced medical specialists (family physician, obstetrician and gynaecologist, paediatrician and anaesthetist) and three advanced nursing professionals (advanced primary health care nurse, advanced midwife and advanced paediatric nurse).
Each health district will have a DCST. The teams may be based in regional hospitals and, or district offices, as determined by the needs of the area (defined by burden of disease, referral patterns and processes, and systems). The family physician and advanced primary health care nurse are to provide support at midwifery obstetrics units, primary health care clinics, community health care clinics, primary health care outreach teams and communities. This includes engaging with private sector facilities working in primary health care (e.g. general practitioners and the mining sector).
The primary focus of the other team members in the DCST will be to improve services within the district hospitals. Their secondary focus will be to provide support to the community and primary health care facilities and outreach teams.
The effectiveness of DCST’s will be measured by their impact on health outcomes; improvement in clinical processes and improvement in health system performance.
These posts were advertised in September 2011.
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