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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


OOSTHUIZEN, S J; BERGH, A-M  and  PATTINSON, R C. Systems thinking: A turning point for improving respectful obstetric care in South African health districts. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2018, vol.108, n.11, pp.910-914. ISSN 2078-5135.

Poorly functioning health systems and local health systems barriers affect many women giving birth in low- and middle-income countries. The district clinical specialist teams in South Africa are uniquely positioned to provide facilitation and mentoring during interventions for improving the weak primary healthcare system. To ensure success, four key principles should be considered during scale-up of interventions: systems thinking and awareness of contexts and barriers; a focus on sustainability; harnessing factors known to enhance scalability; and respect for human rights and equity. Asking the right questions about the responsibilities of health systems at the micro-, meso- and macro-levels will benefit scale-up processes and sustain innovative pathways to high-quality obstetric care in communities.

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