Changing Policy and Practice

At a glance

Strengthening supportive supervision to build capacity and trust in the South African healthcare system

Lead researcher

Professor Jane Goudge


University of the Witwatersrand



Amount awarded


Last updated



Professor Jane Goudge from the University of the Witwatersrand plans to host workshops to design dissemination materials and showcase the impact of her research findings which address the challenges of insufficient supervision in many Community Health Worker programmes in South Africa.

Professor Jane Goudge (1) Professor Jane Goudge

In the South African healthcare system, community health workers provide healthcare-related activities in communities but often have limited training and insufficient skills to perform their tasks.

Professor Goudge and her team from the University of the Witwatersrand investigated the influence of a nurse mentor (an experienced professional nurse) within South Africa's national community health worker programme. The nurse mentor provided supportive supervision, to enhance the knowledge and skills development of two community health worker teams. As a result of the nurse mentor, the teams increased number of households they were able to care for, and range of services they provided.

To extend the delivery of primary healthcare services, it is crucial to address the challenges of insufficient supervision inherent in many community health worker programmes. A nurse mentor could rotate, supporting multiple teams in a district, to build the skills and knowledge of community health workers and their supervisors.

Using their Changing Policy and Practice Award, Professor Goudge and colleagues will host collaborative workshops for community health workers and nurse mentors to share learnings from the study and design dissemination materials. They plan to use animated videos to illustrate key learning points, in addition to creating policy briefs and a website.