oa CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Outreach programme : consultant visits to rural hospitals - : main article

Volume 29, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Access to health care, like childhood survival, often depends on where one lives. Given the low population density and scarcity of infrastructure and resources, access to health care is not readily available to most rural communities. Furthermore, rural health care tends to provide a generalist service while specialist services are concentrated in larger centres. While this misdistribution is understandable in the light of available resources, access to services is often further compromised by a tendency to focus on those individuals who are able to attend health services rather than those who are dependent on such services. Limited access to specialist services in rural areas is a world-wide phenomenon not limited to resource-poor environments, although the feasibility of meeting this challenge is influenced by the local context and structure of the health care system. In the resource-poor context, the idea of consultants visiting rural services is an obvious answer to improve the access to care. Given the diversity of the local context, 'consultant outreach' is a blanket term that covers a wide variety of activities. There are a number of concepts that assist in developing a framework of consultant visits to rural services.

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