Exploring community-based training opportunities for dental therapy students in non-governmental and private sectors in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa

I Moodley, S Singh


Background. The current health system in South Africa (SA) struggles to meet the healthcare demands of its nation adequately, especially in KwaZulu- Natal (KZN) Province, South Africa. Local communities in KZN have long since recognised the need to supplement the public health system by means of community-driven initiatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector. Projects by these sectors can also provide a platform for experiential learning for dental therapy students.

Objective. To explore learning opportunities for dental therapy students through the community-driven health initiatives of NGOs and the private sector in KZN.

Methods. This qualitative study used face-to-face interviews with key stakeholders organising community-based initiatives in the NGO and private sectors. The interviews were audio-recorded and analysed using thematic analysis. Ethical clearance was obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, SA.

Results. According to the participants, there were many innovative service delivery modes, ranging from a mobile health bus, a container turned into a clinic, to well-established clinics that provided meaningful learning opportunities for dental students. By participating in these projects, respondents believed that students could gain real-world experiences and a greater sense of social accountability.

Conclusion. This study showed that there are many opportunities in the private and NGO sectors that could provide support for community-driven learning initiatives for undergraduate dental therapy students.

Authors' affiliations

I Moodley, Discipline of Dentistry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S Singh, Discipline of Dentistry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Community-based education; Non-governmental organisation and private sector support; Dental students; South Africa

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2018;10(3):176-182. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2018.v10i3.1031

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-10-03
Date published: 2018-10-03

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