A thesis by Karen Daniels, a doctoral student at the Nordic School of Public Health NHV explores Lay Health Workers – ordinary people trained to help in the delivery of health care usually performed by professionals – as an option to tackling this crisis.
Ms. Daniels, who is South African, is a researcher employed at the Medical Research Council in South Africa. With a history of fighting for social justice Ms. Daniels hope that the research emanating from this thesis will contribute positively to health care policy making and implementation for the better of South Africa’s residents.
Ms. Daniels, says: Lay health workers can make a great contribution to care but they also need greatly to be cared for.
Looking at lay health worker performance internationally, the thesis Lay Health Worker Programmes as a Public Health Approach in South Africa finds that they can contribute positively to a range of health care problems. In a review of over 80 studies they have been shown to be successful in the management of infectious diseases and they have shown some success is improving the health of mothers and their children.
However the thesis also shows that lay health workers are not an easy option. Lay health workers in South Africa are mostly women, and as women they carry the burden of care.
The thesis explores policy and implementation experience in order to understand how lay health workers may be better supported and protected.
This thesis will be publicly defended at the Nordic School of Public Health at 13:00 on 11 May 2012 in the Aulan Assembly Hall.