Tuberculosis Direct Observation Treatment Supporters’ own account on why they volunteer: A case study with volunteers in an informal settlement of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Busi Ntuli
Regina Maithufi


Tuberculosis has increasingly become a public health threat faced by overstretched public health systems in poor resourced areas. South Africa is one of the high burden settings in sub-Saharan Africa. TB supporters are increasingly used to cover the shortfall of health care workers in the provision of health care services for TB patients in South Africa. Despite the numerous challenges they face in rendering services, they continue to volunteer. This study explores the motivation of TB DOT supporters for volunteering and caring for TB patients in a poorly resourced area from their perspective. Focus group discussions were conducted with 60 participants (57 females and three males) purposefully selected from four civil society organizations in an informal settlement of Johannesburg in South Africa. Thematic data analysis aided by the use of NVivo version 10 qualitative data analysis software was applied. Participants reported the following reasons for volunteering: Career opportunities, keeping themselves busy, passion for TB work, sense of altruism, history of own illness, and religious calling. The source of motivation for volunteers is both internal and external. Their motivation for volunteering is of benefit to them, the communities and the country. It is of importance that they are supported and rewarded for doing their work so as to strengthen the public health system in its effort to control TB.

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