The teaching, learning and assessment of health advocacy in a South African College of Health Sciences

Keywords: advocacy, authentic assessment, core competencies, curriculum, health advocacy, health advocate, health professions education, health sciences, teaching and learning


Health advocacy is a core competency identified by Health Professions Council of South Africa to be acquired by health professional graduates. There is a lack of information on how health advocacy (HA) is taught and assessed in health science programmes. The aim of the study was to explore the teaching, learning and assessment of HA in undergraduate health science programmes at a South African university.

Methods: Curriculum mapping of eight programmes and a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with eleven key informants were conducted using a sequential mixed methods approach. Content analysis was used to analyse Curriculum Mapping data. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the FGD data. Results from both data sets were triangulated.

Results: Six themes emerged: Perceived importance of HA role for health practitioners; Implicit HA content in curricula; HA as an implicit learning outcome; Teaching HA in a spiral curriculum approach; Authentic Assessment of HA, and Perceived barriers to incorporation of HA into curricula.

Conclusion and Recommendations: HA is perceived as an important role for health professionals but it is not explicitly taught and assessed in undergraduate health sciences programmes. Barriers to its teaching and assessment can be addressed through capacity development of academics.

Author Biographies

D. van Staden, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

Department of Optometry

S. Duma, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

Office of Teaching and Learning, College of Health Sciences


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How to Cite
van Staden, D., and S. Duma. 2022. “The Teaching, Learning and Assessment of Health Advocacy in a South African College of Health Sciences”. South African Journal of Higher Education 36 (5), 276-90.
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