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Brown University

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health


This practicum based study was completed in an effort to explore the realization of the rights to health, education and social welfare for disabled children in Ingwavuma and Bhambana, KwaZulu Natal. Very little research has been done on disabled children in South Africa, and estimations of prevalence range from 3.3-6.4%. The absence of accurate data creates a situation where implementation of policy and delivery of services is slow and does not always address the most urgent needs. The new South Africa aimed to bring rights and freedom to all groups of people, but the question which this study attempts to answer is whether or not disabled children living in this new era are at a greater advantage than they have been in the past. It is evident that since apartheid ended, “there has been significant progress in South Africa in terms of the development of policies to protect the rights of children with disabilities” . This study identifies some of the gaps that still exist between these policies and their implementation. Data was obtained through participant observation at Mosvold Hospital Therapy Department and Sisizakele Special School. In addition to direct observation, informal conversations with staff and students were also used as a means to collect primary data. These conversations provided a wide range of perspectives on how the children’s rights were being protected or not. Data was collected over a period of three and half weeks, in which half of the time was spent at each institution. Government policies and other secondary sources are used to compare what is envisioned on paper to what is being implemented at the study sites. The study found that there remains a lot of work to be done in improving service delivery to disabled children at the study sites. The right to education is being realized by only one special school in the entire district, as there are yet to be any local mainstream schools willing to accept the students. Access to health care was found to be much better than access to education, but consistency of rehabilitative care remained a challenge for most children. Issues surrounding the misuse of the care dependency grant are also raised and analyzed in the study.


Health and Medical Administration | Maternal and Child Health | Rehabilitation and Therapy


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