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Community Talk: 22 February 2023 at 11 am (CET)

Filling the language gap using communication resources for HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis healthcare in South Africa (Rhodes University)


Speaker: Nathalia Lourenço (von Witt)

Nathalia Lourenço completed her PhD within the VLIR-UOS TEAMS framework, with cooperation between the KU Leuven (Belgium) and Rhodes University (South Africa), under the supervision of Dr Bulelwa Nosilela and Prof Patrick Luyten. Her research is on language barriers in South African healthcare, with a focus on HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.


Short content of the CT

South Africa has 11 official languages, and despite healthcare users having the right to access healthcare in an official local language, many healthcare professionals are not able to speak the local language. South Africa also has the largest number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-positive people in the world, the third-highest rate of Tuberculosis (TB) infections, and the second-highest rate of Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) globally, with up to 60% of HIV-positive healthcare users (HCUs) infected with TB as a co-infection.

To address language barriers in healthcare, existing communication resources were reviewed and selected or further developed and then implemented as part of a pilot feasibility trial with six healthcare sites in the Eastern Cape. This was adapted to employ a blended approach due to COVID-19-related limitations. The feasibility and acceptability of both the study protocol and the proposed communication resources were evaluated, and the findings inform recommendations to improve the feasibility of such a study in order to conduct a randomised controlled trial; to further develop the resources in order to enhance communication both in HIV/AIDS and TB consultations and in other fields of healthcare; and to implement a similar intervention at the university level and as Continuing Medical Education.


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