doctor GP with patient
Project Type - Pilot Projects

Co-developing Care Pathways for Dementia in South Africa

Exploring traditional and biomedical care practices for dementia in South Africa
Southern Africa


South Africa (SA) currently does not have a dementia strategy. In SA’s multi-ethnic population, there is a need to design locally relevant dementia services using available resources. Gaining current practice insights from community doctors and traditional healers and how they can collaborate in dementia care is the crucial first step.

Project Details

The overarching goal of this pilot is to produce recommendations for co-developed locally relevant dementia services involving primary health care physicians’ (PCPs) and traditional healer practitioners (THPs) for future implementation testing. To achieve this; the study aims to explore and describe knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAPs) regarding dementia care in PCPs and THPs and views on collaboration in dementia care . The study will be conducted in the two districts of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Our project is divided into three sub-studies which will be followed by a combination of all the data for analysis. 

1) All the ~110 PCPs in the two districts will be recruited to complete a survey on dementia KAPs and views on collaboration with THPs in dementia care. 

2) ~10 THPs will complete semi-structured interviews on dementia KAPs and views on collaboration with PCPs’ in dementia care. 

3) I will foster a cooperative and mutually respectful dialogue between PCPs and THPs to scope potential for co-developing collaborative care pathways for dementia care in KZN 

4) Findings will be combined and analyzed to produce a report and guidelines. 

The study findings will produce a report and guidelines with recommendations for improved collaborative dementia services and practitioner training. These findings will be disseminated in local and lay language material, publications and conference presentations. The research team will also seek funding to expand the pilot project and undertake intervention programs informed by the research findings. There will be sustained local and international collaborations for future research and intervention projects. These research findings will be used in the development of collaborative dementia care pathways and practitioner dementia training for the setting. This study can be replicated in a bigger sample in this setting and in the region. The findings of this study will contribute towards the improvement of care for people with dementia.