Original Research

The impact of basic dermatology education and training on primary healthcare providers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Pumeza U. Makaula, Antoinette V. Chateau, Richard J. Hift, Ncoza C. Dlova, Anisa Mosam
South African Family Practice | Vol 63, No 1 : Part 1| a5200 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v63i1.5200 | © 2021 Pumeza U. Makaula, Antoinette V. Chateau, Richard Hift, Ncoza C. Dlova, Anisa Mosam | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 July 2020 | Published: 15 January 2021

About the author(s)

Pumeza U. Makaula, Department of Dermatology, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Antoinette V. Chateau, Department of Dermatology, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Richard J. Hift, Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Ncoza C. Dlova, Department of Dermatology, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Anisa Mosam, Department of Dermatology, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Dermatological diseases are amongst the commonest reasons for consultation at primary care level. Yet, dermatology teaching in medical and nursing curricula is inconsistent and often insufficient to enable medical and nursing professionals to manage these conditions effectively.

Methods: We tested the knowledge of 100 doctors and 195 nurses who attended dermatology training sessions held in three health districts in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa, by using a quasi-experimental uncontrolled before-and-after study design. At the start of the session, participants were exposed to 15 slides representing common dermatological conditions; this was followed by a test. The participants then attended a series of short lectures followed by the same test. Pre- and post-intervention test scores were compared, and the results were analysed by professional status, health district and type of facility.

Results: The mean (standard deviation [SD]) pre-intervention test score was 40.6% (20.5%). Doctors scored significantly higher than nurses (p < 0.0001). There were significant differences in performance by district (p < 0.001) and type of facility (p < 0.001). The mean (SD) post-intervention score improved to 68.7% (22.5%).

Conclusion: Doctors and nurses working in the primary care sector appear to be insufficiently trained in the management of common dermatological conditions. A short period of in-service training resulted in an immediate, significant improvement in knowledge, although we did not study long-term retention beyond this. We recommend improved prequalification training in dermatology in medical and nursing schools and an expansion of continuing professional development as well as in-service training opportunities for primary care practitioners.


Keywords

dermatology education; dermatology training; South Africa; primary healthcare; common dermatology conditions

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