Title page for ETD etd-09302005-112447

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Mathe, Sipho Vimba
URN etd-09302005-112447
Document Title An investigation into the nature and extent of substance abuse and preventable diseases in Nongoma, KwaZulu Natal : implications for social work
Degree DPhil (Social Work)
Department Social Work
Advisor Name Title
Prof A Lombard Committee Chair
  • drug abuse prevention study and teaching South Afr
  • substance abuse South Africa
  • drug abuse South Africa
Date 2003-09-01
Availability restricted
Health is defined by the World Health Organization as not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but as a state of complete physical, mental and social well being. In the concept of Social Health, ill-health is viewed as the interaction of a number of factors, some of which may appear to bear no direct etiological relationship to a morbid condition.

The study was primarily aimed at determining the nature and extent of alcohol and other drugs abuse and common preventable diseases in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal.

The objectives of the study were presented as follows:

  • To study and review relevant literature pertaining to the historical background and socio-economic and political dimensions of alcohol and other drug use, misuse and abuse in South Africa.
  • To conceptualize primary health care (PHC) within a developmental perspective as a theoretical framework for the study.
  • To do situation analysis on drug related health and social problems among selected institutions and centres in Nongoma.
  • To investigate the nature and extent of use of alcohol, marijuana and their relationship with T.B., HIV/AIDS and mental health among village communities of Nongoma.
  • To formulate guidelines for an integrative, intersectoral prevention model of alcohol and other drug abuse and related preventable diseases for Nongoma based on the research findings.
  • To make recommendations based on the findings of the current study.

Because of the focus of the study's emphasis on the accumulation of baseline information on the nature and extent of alcohol and other drug use, misuse, abuse and risks for increase in preventable diseases and related problems, a combination of the qualitative and quantitative methodological procedures was adopted for this study. A sample survey was conducted among patients by means of a structured questionnaire as the main data-collecting instrument. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with key community informants from government and private institutions in Nongoma. In addition, focus group discussions were held with departmental ward nurses at Benedictine Hospital, and personal interviews were conducted with experts and certain community leaders.

The direct and indirect effects of alcohol and other drugs (particularly-dagga/marijuana) have become one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality among patients on treatment for tuberculosis (TB) and other preventable diseases at Benedictine Hospital and its eleven satellite clinics, as well as among communities of Nongoma. It is particularly significant that alcohol and other drug abuse were found to be fairly high among patients who are still on treatment for TB and other preventable diseases. One of the major findings was the realisation that the problem of alcoholism among the rural communities of Nongoma is deeply embedded in the perception of alcohol (especially home brew beer) as food. This belief has been generalised to all types of alcohol. Change of these perceptions and attitudes is necessary and actually urgent, if substance abuse is to be prevented among high-risk groups, such as patients and young people in Nongoma.

To effectively address the problem of substance abuse in relation to preventable diseases in Nongoma, the study concluded that primary prevention programmes within a developmental framework need to be in place and implemented. However, for prevention programmes to be effective, various disciplines and sectors should be involved. Social workers, in collaboration with these role-players, must be able to identify the specific factors, conditions and situations that contribute to the development of social problems in Nongoma and then select actions and activities that will reduce or eliminate their impact. This conclusion is in line with one of the study's findings that Nongoma rural communities are experiencing a high rate of illiteracy, unemployment, substance abuse, preventable diseases and abject poverty.

On the basis of the major findings and conclusions of this study, guidelines for a primary health care model within a developmental framework have been formulated and recommended for consideration and implementation by the stakeholders in the rural area of Nongoma. Against this background, the study was able to achieve its aim and objectives.

2003 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Mathe, SV 2003, An investigation into the nature and extent of substance abuse and preventable diseases in Nongoma, KwaZulu Natal : implications for social work, DPhil thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09302005-112447/ >


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