Health in a changing South Africa : perceptions and experiences of older people in rural KwaDumisa, KwaZulu-Natal.
Older people can be defined in different ways depending on the country’s social policies and also their health status. The health interventions overlook the vulnerability of older people regarding their individual health needs and their general susceptibility to chronic illnesses. Increasing economic disparities between races and inequalities in access to health services despite a large expansion in government social grants is another growing challenge. The major socio-economic changes has also contributed and enhanced the health challenges of older people in rural areas. This study aims to investigate the health perceptions and experiences of older people in rural areas and explore the factors that influence the quality of health of older people in South Africa. The study relied on focus group interviews (FGIs) and in-depth interviews (IDIs) to acquire an in-depth assessment and overall understanding of the life course and health perceptions of older people. Results reveal that even though health has evolved in South Africa over time, more challenges continue to affect the health of older people in rural areas where there are constant issues of low socio-economic status, poverty, migration and poor education attainment. The findings also suggest that, under the new political power there has been a change in the management of health care systems. Older people in KwaDumisa also face challenges with access to health care facilities.
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