Tshwane District holds tobacco dependence treatment workshop

The Global Bridges Afro region sponsored a training on 13 August 2013 which was attended by 44 health promotion practitioners from local hospitals and clinics in the Tshwane Health District, Pretoria. The district is one of the pilot sites for the South African government’s new National Health Insurance (NHI) aimed at ensuring universal access to quality health care.

13Sept2013-blog99-photo1The national government recognizes that healthcare is a human right but a large number of people still do not have access to the care they need. Healthcare is further limited by the shortage in the number of health providers in the public sector accessed by the majority of the population. NHI will provide access on a more sustainable and equitable basis than currently exists for the entire population.

Smoking prevalence in th13Sept2013-blog99-photo2e district and province is about 25%. The government’s goal is to achieve “A long healthy life for all South Africans” and tobacco dependence treatment ought to be a priority as it would significantly contribute towards this goal. Thus, training the health promoters (foot soldiers) was important as they form a link between health facilities and communities. They are core members of the primary health care NHI implementation teams. They provide households with counseling support and could play an integral part in behavioral tobacco cessation treatment.

The lessons included in the workshops included:

  • Educating clients on the dangers of smoking and the benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle
  • Different treatment options available for those who would like to quit and correct use of medication including combination of NRT formulation
  • Principles and elements of brief motivational interviewing, including strategies for eliciting change talk

The district will work with Global Bridges to conduct further training.