A scoping review of pre-hospital emergency care research in South Africa


Background: Pre-hospital emergency care is a relatively new research area in South Africa. To date, little research has been conducted to chart the existing work undertaken in this field. A scoping review was conducted of the current research landscape, including as much material, both published papers and unpublished dissertations and theses, as possible. Methods: Several journal databases and the South African National Electronic Theses and Dissertation Portal were searched with no date limits imposed. The search and inclusion criteria were limited to pre-hospital emergency care in South Africa. Literature was selected and screened according to the PRISMA framework and data extracted based on relevant and themed categories. Results: The search resulted in 1076 published articles and 293 dissertations/theses. An additional 11 papers were identified and three dissertations/theses. Ultimately, 123 papers and 96 dissertations/theses were included. Eleven non-research papers were found relevant to the topic and included as additional information. Conclusion: There has been substantial growth in pre-hospital emergency care research in South Africa since the 2010s. The published articles and dissertations/theses included in this review covered a range of topics, with relatively little overlap. Various methodologies, data collection designs and participants were used in the research process. However, there was a noticeable disparity when it came to geographical areas, with the Western Cape, Gauteng, and research taking place across South Africa featuring prominently, while other provinces were the subject of little or no research.