Children's participation in decision-making at Rahima Moosa mother and child hospital

Makiwane, Nonqaba Cecilia
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Children’s right to participate in decisions affecting them is still a challenge despite the laws and guidelines. In South Africa, this right has not received the attention it deserves, because of government’s commitment to issues like HIV/AIDS. The aim of the research was to understand the views of children, parents and health professionals with regards to decision- making at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital. A total of 51 health professionals, 28 children and 28 parents were interviewed using questionnaires. The study looked at participants’ knowledge of the right of children to participate in decisions and the way health professionals communicated with children and parents. Findings: There was good knowledge amongst health professionals, but most children (75%) did not know their right. Most children were not consulted about diagnosis (60%), procedures and treatment (71%). Health professionals lacked age appropriate ways of communicating with children. On the whole, children (71.4%) preferred doctors to speak to parents. Conclusion: There is a need to educate children about their rights and to train health professionals on effective communication with children. Health professionals need to give children a chance to express their opinion even if they do not make the final decision.
A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Medicine November 2016