Anette Dekker, 2012, Woodrow Wilson School
I interned at the Jabulani Rural Health Foundation, which works closely with Zithulele Hospital and is located in a remote area along the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Through the use of both quantitative and qualitative interviews, I conducted research on the availability and use of pain medication and palliative care at Zithulele Hospital, specifically in relation to infectious diseases such as HIV and TB. Conducting approximately fifty patient interviews, I was able to establish a crucial insight into what level of pain patients were suffering from, how patients perceived their pain, what they believed was the cause, and what path they typically followed in seeking out treatment. Interviews with doctors, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists at Zithulele Hospital, and nurses in the surrounding clinics, shed light on typical clinical practices and what inhibitions exist in proper implementation of palliative care. It is clear both that there is a significant need for pain treatment and palliative care and that limited resources of health professionals make implementation of such care challenging. I will continue with a more in-depth analysis of the data as I work with the research for my senior thesis.