Teaching about disability and food security in the School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Background. Food security is a significant challenge in South Africa, especially for persons with disabilities. This topic is therefore important for educators in the health sciences. Nevertheless, little is known about educators’ awareness of the relationship between food security and people with disabilities, or to what extent the topic is included in their curricula or what their attitudes are regarding this topic.
Objectives. We explored the knowledge and attitudes of educators pertaining to food security and people with disabilities. We assessed the current teaching practice associated with the food security of people with disabilities in the School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Methods. Thirty-five participants completed a cross-sectional online survey. The participants represented diverse disciplines including audiology, occupational therapy, optometry, physiotherapy, speech-language pathology and sports science. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and qualitative data were analysed thematically.
Results. The participants had limited self-reported knowledge about the definition of food security. Fewer than 60% of the participants reported a relationship between three of the dimensions of food security and disability, and 80% for one of the dimensions (food utilisation). Of the participants, 88% did not teach food security and disability theoretically, and 80% did not teach it practically. According to the participants, students were not equipped to assess if their clients with disability had food security problems, and were unsure of appropriate interventions.
Conclusion. Despite a lack of knowledge, participants had positive attitudes towards including food security into their teaching, although limited teaching existed at the time of the study.
H E Lister, Discipline of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Care Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
K Mostert, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health Care Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
M Pillay, Discipline of Speech Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and Speech and Language Therapy, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
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Date published: 2022-01-28
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