The Rural Health Conference has been an annual event since 1996. Initially started as a conference for rural doctors by RuDASA (Rural Doctor’s Association of South Africa) it has grown into a vibrant meeting of doctors, nurses, therapists, clinical associates, students NGOs and University lecturers interested in improving health care in rural areas. The conferences is now run by a partnership of RuDASA, RuReSA (Rural Rehabilitation South Africa), PACASA (Professional Association of Clinical Associates), and RuNurSA (Rural Nurses South Africa). We are guided by RHAP (Rural Health Advocacy programme) to ensure that the conference recognises the diversity of South Africa, the importance of advocating for better services and seeking presentations on innovations in care and service provision.
In 2013 the annual RuDASA Conference was renamed as the annual Rural Health Conference with Rural Rehab South Africa (RuRESA) and the Professional Association of Clinical Associates (PACASA) joining officially as annual conference partners. The overarching aim of the Rural Health Conference is to create a platform for rural health practitioners, partners and stakeholders across the country to connect, share experiences and challenges facing rural health care practitioners and communities, learn from one another, and advocate for good practice. The conference traditionally is 2.5 days long (preferably over a “long weekend”), is registered for CPD points, and rotates amongst the Provinces.
The conference usually takes place on a long weekend in September and consists of a 3 day programme of presentations, workshops, and AGMS, as well as evening meals and events. The conference rotates between the Provinces so that health workers have equal opportunities to be able to attend a conference. The conference always takes place in a small town in a rural area, to remind us all about being rural aware ! Moving Provinces also enables us to learn about the challenges in the different areas in South Africa and how people are meeting those challenges. Newcomers to the conference are amazed at the energy and commitment of the people there, as well as the multidisciplinary approach. We really try not to have silo’s for each profession, but to come together to hear, debate and learn from each other. In addition we welcome various exhibitors and have an interesting Exhibition and Poster area. Regular highlights of the conference of the conference include:
Welcome and presentations by the Chair of each partner
A daily Key Note Speaker, each selected to represent their views on rural health and to inspire the delegates;
An Opening Ceremony with VIPs from the host province’s Department of Health;
A Gala Dinner & Awards for: Rural Doctor of the Year, Rural Rehabilitation Worker of the Year, Rural Clinical Associate of the Year, and Rural Nurse of the Year
An informal dinner with casual entertainment such as Fireside Stories, quiz, damce competition.
The exhibition of up to date equipment and consumables from Health Companies and exhibition stands for RuDASA, RuReSA, RHAP, PACASA, RuNurSA; as well as NGOs working in rural areas.
Closing Ceremony with discussions on how to move forward with the information gained from the conference; and the presentation of prizes for Best Oral Presenter, Best Workshop Presenter, Best Posters, Best Student Presentation.
To bring together people working, researching, supporting, or interested in improving rural health services
Aims to advocate for improved rural health care through presentations on Best Practice, Skills Development, Policy, and Advocacy Issues.
To learn from the multidisciplinary team and identify transdisiplinary research or solutions to challenges