Original Research

Schooling for children living with human immunodeficiency virus in a community in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Perceptions of educators and healthcare workers

Stacy Maddocks, Kesni Perumal, Verusia Chetty
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 76, No 1 | a1405 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v76i1.1405 | © 2020 Stacy Maddocks, Kesni Perumal, Verusia Chetty | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 October 2019 | Published: 22 July 2020

About the author(s)

Stacy Maddocks, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Kesni Perumal, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Verusia Chetty, Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Children living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are faced with challenges, such as social and contextual barriers in society, resulting from their disabilities. Schooling and education, which are crucial for children’s future livelihoods, are areas in which children living with HIV often experience exclusion within South African communities. Educators and healthcare professionals, through collaborative efforts, could influence schooling by improving access and care for children living with HIV.

Objectives: To explore the perceptions of educators and healthcare workers on schooling for children living with HIV in a semi-rural community in South Africa.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were held, with eight healthcare workers and eight educators, adopting an explorative qualitative approach. Data from the interviews were transcribed and analysed using content analysis.

Results: Four overarching themes were identified: the influence of living with HIV on school readiness and progression; stakeholder support practices to enhance bonding and bridging; obstacles to support; and future directives to foster success at school for children living with HIV.

Conclusion: Educators and healthcare workers felt that social determinants, including poverty and stigma, as well as comorbidities of the virus, influenced the school readiness of children living with HIV. Bonding with children and partnering with caregivers was seen as crucial for fostering successful schooling.

Clinical implications: Additionally, interdisciplinary collaboration between healthcare workers and educators was seen as important for a holistic approach to caring for children living with HIV. Early identification of disabilities was also believed to be important in addressing the social barriers hindering schooling.


Keywords

children; HIV; school; educators; healthcare workers; South Africa

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