The Joint conference of the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) and the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA) conference will be held from 5 – 7 September 2012 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
For the first time, the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) and the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA) will have a joint conference with the theme: “Bridging the health divide: from Policy to Practice’’.
The conference will be held at the President Hotel, Bloemfontein, Free State Province, from 5-7 September 2012. Parallel workshops will precede the main conference, with wide-ranging topics to suit diverse interests. Guest speakers scheduled to attend and participate at the conference include the Director General for Health Precious Malebona Matsoso, Crick Lund, Harsha Dayal, Rajen Naidoo, Karl le Roux, Kelvin Storey and William Pick.
The theme is inspired by the following: persistent inequalities in all dimensions of health, resource availability and in health care between urban and rural areas, the rich and the poor; gaps between policy intentions and community experiences; and the divide between our progressive laws and policies on the one hand, and implementation and practice on the other hand. The 2012 joint PHASA/RUDASA conference will generate a scientific debate and discussion on these various divides, the drivers of these divides, influencing factors, and strategies and mechanisms to bridge these divides, whether through leadership, advocacy, research, education and/or practice. A key focus area will be innovative strategies to address the ‘health divide’.
The target audience is policy makers, public health academics, and front-line health professionals, particularly from rural areas, health service managers and non-governmental/community-based health organisations.
The conference plans to stage the launch of Rural Rehabilitation South Africa (RuReSA), a newly formed interest group for rehabilitation professionals who have an interest in rehabilitation in rural places. Traditional public health indicators focus on burden of disease and mortality. What is missing is the massive degree of morbidity and disability experienced by those not “cured” by the system. Rehabilitation and disability specialists will be joining forces with public health experts to address issues such as appropriate rehabilitation indicators, PHC rehabilitation service delivery models, and the lived experience of disability in rural South Africa.
Clinical associates are the new members of the health care team introduced to work in collaboration with a medical practitioner to provide quality health service by aiding in taking patient histories, performing examinations, procedures, ordering investigations and holistically managing patients. A national representative body, the Professional Association of Clinical Associates in South Africa (PACASA) will be launched at the conference.
The urgency to mitigate the effects of climate change is great. This conference will have a committed climate change focus and, following on the COP 17, aims to raise awareness of the importance of reducing our carbon footprint as individuals for our own health as well as in health care facilities and so contribute to mitigating global warming. We will strive to ensure this is an environmentally-focused and -friendly conference.
The conference aims to establish a platform for collaboration that brings together students from medical and rehabilitation sciences and public health to engage and network around public and rural health education, research and practice. Students have been encouraged to submit abstracts within the conference tracks and sponsorship has been made available for a number of students. It Is hoped that this will lead to a future Student Assembly that will become a permanent satellite event to the conference.
This year PHASA and RUDASA offered an abstract mentorship for new researchers and students to assist them in developing their abstracts for the conference. Applicants were paired with experienced researchers and good feedback was received from both mentors and those that were mentored. It is hoped that this will grow from 11 people mentored this year to a much bigger capacity building effort in the future.
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