The interaction between service users and health services is critical to the overall performance of the health system. Levels of user satisfaction, patterns of utilisation, patient compliance and even health outcomes are all influenced by the nature of this interaction. So gathering and listening to the voices of service users is a critical input into efforts to strengthen health service provision. This chapter presents two sets of service users voices. The first and main set is drawn from a wider study of HIV/AIDS services provided at the primary level in Gauteng Province. In February and March 2001, fourteen HIV positive service users, recruited from NGOs and AIDS support groups, were interviewed individually about their experiences of accessing and using public health facilities. The second set of voices is drawn from 24 focus group discussions conducted in 1998/99 as part of a wider study that investigated the costs and quality of 19 public and private primary care facilities across four provinces. In this chapter only issues about public services that were raised in these discussions are identified. Interviews were conducted at a place away from the health facilities. HIV positive respondents were identified through NGO networks; focus group participants were recruited from within the communities served by the clinics of focus on the basis of their age, gender and broad socio-economic status.
Modiba, P.; Gilson, L.; Schneider, H. Voices of service users. In: Ntuli A, Suleman F, Barron P, et al, South African Health Review 2001, first edition.. Health Systems Trust, Durban, South Africa (2002) 187-202.