Rural Learning Sites

Rural Learning Sites

RHAP’s rural learning approach is aimed to ensure that most deprived rural communities have equitable access to quality health care by promoting, protecting and fulfilling the right to health.

The specific purpose is to strengthen government programming and accountability to the delivery of equitable and quality health care services to deprived communities. Rural learning sites provide a platform for collective advocacy and learning through research, monitoring service delivery, healthcare worker advocacy and collaboration with civil society and community structures.

Rural learning sites are located in most-deprived sub-districts. Our first learning site is Nyandeni Sub-District, Eastern Cape.

The strategic objectives of the learning sites are:

  • To build longitudinal relations with rural communities, health care workers, civil society and health management
  • To deepen our understanding of the functioning of the health system and factors that impact on health access
  • To facilitate, support and amplify the agency of health care workers and communities through collaborative advocacy at a local level
  • To effect measurable change through joint partnerships
  • To feed our national advocacy voice with evidence of rural realities ensuring that rural health remains on the agenda of provincial and national decision-makers and stakeholders

Our project strategy entails three components:

  • LEARN and understand rural communities health access concerns within selected rural sites.
  • ACT on collaborative advocacy activities that give stakeholders in the rural sites agency to determine the kind of health services they need and want.
  • MEASURE the impact that collaborative advocacy efforts have had in the chosen rural sites, have intended outcomes been achieved.

The learning sites are supported by but not limited to RHAP’s  flagship programmes:

  1. The Voice Project
  2. Rural Proofing Policies Programme

The Voice Project

The Voice Project aspires to develop and grow a culture of Health Care Workers as “change agents’ by equipping health care workers with skills to problem solve challenges, advance patient centred solutions and serve as leaders and influencers.

The Realising Health Rights at Times of Austerity Programme

Aims to ensure equitable access to quality health care for rural people by promoting adequate budgets, efficient spending that improves access to health through rural-proofing processes. 

Intended outcomes:

  • Improved access to health services at community and facility level
  • Local partners monitor health service delivery in the chosen sites by owning and engaging with the health budget through advocacy.
  • Measurable accountability by Sub District Health Governance Structures and at provincial and national level
  • Effective implementation of health policies as measured by adherence to National Core Standards and the 6 priorities.
  • Civil Society organizations in the selected sites being able to successfully engage with provincial legislature and present in parliament
  • Advocacy competent Health Care Workers empowered through Voice trainings

Current learning sites:

Nyandeni Sub-District

Canzibe Hospital, which was at the centre of an advocacy campaign in 2017 is one of the three district hospitals in Nyandeni. As a result of collective advocacy with the hospital board and civil society partners and coordinated by the RHAP the hospital recovered from 1 doctor for 138 000 people in June 2017 to 5 doctors by September 2017. Many challenges remain and further advocacy is taking place for the development of a multidisciplinary health care team that can serve the communities in this most deprived region in the country.

Additional learning sites have been identified and work has started.