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Free Content Participatory theatre and tuberculosis: a feasibility study with South African health care workers

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SETTING: Health care workers (HCWs) in South Africa have a risk of acquiring tuberculosis (TB) that is twice that of the general population. Nonetheless, adherence to infection control and TB disclosure requirements remain problematic.

OBJECTIVE: To gain insight into the feasibility of an educational participatory theatre intervention to reduce the risk of occupational TB.

DESIGN: An intervention using participatory theatre was developed progressively over six consecutive sessions with different groups of HCWs, totalling 83 participants. Videos of the sessions, field notes, observations, interviews and a post-experience survey were analysed to ascertain feasibility.

RESULTS: The intervention was acceptable to participants, met a defined demand, proved adaptable to the target group and was practical if done during working hours or if integrated into already existing training sessions. The theatre work shed light on where to focus educational interventions. Preliminary efficacy outcomes included strengthened social cohesion via group work and reports of subsequent greater vigilance regarding occupational TB.

CONCLUSION: Participatory theatre techniques may offer a useful, culturally appropriate supplement to existing educational approaches to the prevention and management of occupational TB. Given the limitations in resources and our assessment of feasibility, training existing health care educators in such techniques would be a promising next step.
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Keywords: HCWs; South Africa; educational intervention; occupational health; participatory theatre

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Global Health Research Programme, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 2: School of Public Health and Family Medicine 3: School of Drama, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Publication date: 01 February 2017

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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