Spirituality and healthcare:   towards holistic people centred health care in South Africa



November 2014 Conference



October 2016 Conference
October 2016 Power Points

Healthcare in South Africa is in a crisis.  Problems with infrastructure, management, human resources and the supply of essential medicines are at a critical level.  This iscompounded by a high burden of disease and disparity in levels of service delivery, particularly between public and private health. 

The government has put ambitious plans (which are part of the National Development Plan towards 2030) in place.  In the midst of this we find the individual person and his/her family and community who are staggering under the suffering caused by disease, poverty, crime and violence.  The chances are more than 70% that this person and his/her family and community are trying to make sense of this  within a spiritual framework and that they belong to a faith-based community.  Many health care workers trace their involvement in this field back to a spiritual motivation and are struggling to cope under tremendous pressure.

This renewed emphasis on South Africa’s health care service delivery as well as increasing evidence apropos the link between, and importance of, spirituality and health, led to the establishment of a Research Programme on Spirituality and Health Care, which is  hosted at the Cluster for Healing and Counselling of the Centre for Contextual Ministry at the University of Pretoria and coordinated by HospiVision.

The programme addresses the following key questions:

  • What is the contribution of spirituality, spiritual and pastoral work, the Faith-Based Community (FBC) and Faith-Based Organisations (FBO) to holistic person-centered health care in South Africa?
  • How can spirituality be integrated in a multi-professional and multi-disciplinary approach to health care within the South African context?
  • How can the South African Government’s goal of “quality health care for all” be strengthened and expanded through the inclusion of spirituality as a key part of a holistic, multi-professional and multi-disciplinary approach to health care?

Other stakeholders in the research programme are the University of Pretoria departments of Practical Theology, Social work and Criminology, Family Medicine and Psychiatry.  The George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health Care (GWish) at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, George Washington University, Washington DC, USA, is an international partner.

Enquiries:  André de la Porte (012-3299492/andred@hospivision.org.za)