Original Research

Social accountability challenges and recommendations by community service rehabilitation therapists

Ntandoyenkosi L. Msomi, Andrew J. Ross
South African Family Practice | Vol 66, No 1 : Part 3| a5936 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v66i1.5936 | © 2024 Ntandoyenkosi L. Msomi, Andrew J. Ross | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 February 2024 | Published: 06 June 2024

About the author(s)

Ntandoyenkosi L. Msomi, Department of Family Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Andrew J. Ross, Department of Family Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: Social accountability entails providing equitable and accessible services that are tailor-made for the community’s healthcare needs and enable rehabilitation therapists to improve the efficiency and efficacy of healthcare delivery and their response. Enabling them to provide optimal care during their community service year requires understanding the gaps in their knowledge, experience and the support they provide to the communities they service.

Methods: Four in-depth individual interviews and four focus group discussions were conducted via Zoom. The qualitative responses to the questions related to the challenges and recommendations associated with social accountability in clinical settings were analysed using an inductive thematic approach via NVIVO.

Results: Four sub-themes emerged for each of the two areas of interest: the challenges relating to (1) budget and equipment constraints, (2) staff shortages, (3) cultural and language barriers and (4) scope of practice limitations. The recommendations related to (5) collaboration with community caregivers, (6) service inclusion in primary health care clinics, (7) improved executive management support and (8) continuing professional development.

Conclusion: Equipping graduates with the knowledge, skills and support needed to work in an under-resourced setting is essential for community service rehabilitation therapists to ensure social accountability, given that they often work alone, specifically in rural settings.

Contribution: Being aware of the challenges that face community service rehabilitation therapists, having the necessary tools and health facility management support will enable ongoing improvements in their ability to provide socially accountable services.



social accountability; community service rehabilitation therapists; challenges; recommendations; rehabilitation services

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities


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