The Role of Social Work in the Provision of Healthcare in Africa

  • Mavis Dako-GyekeEmail author
  • Doris A. Boateng
  • Abigail A. Mills
Part of the Advancing Global Bioethics book series (AGBIO, volume 13)


As a profession, social work seeks to help and empower vulnerable individuals, families and groups in society. It thus concerns itself with the welfare of persons who have difficulty functioning fully in society due to conditions, such as illness. In view of the fact that medical social work is one of the major areas of social work practice, this chapter discusses the role of social workers in healthcare delivery in Africa. The chapter commences with introduction of social work as a profession and its history in Africa. In addition, the chapter emphasises the roles of social workers in the healthcare system. Furthermore, drawing on two case studies, challenges encountered by medical social workers in healthcare settings are highlighted. Moreover, ethical issues that core healthcare practitioners and medical social workers in Africa need to be acquainted with as they collaborate to meet patients’ needs are discussed. Given the importance of multi-professional teams in the administration of healthcare, suggestions are made regarding how medical social workers could be professionally aligned with core healthcare practitioners to provide effective and efficient healthcare in Africa. This would offer medical social workers the opportunity to enhance their productivity, recognition and image within African healthcare settings.


Ethics Healthcare Medical social work 


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Further Reading

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  5. Gehlert, S., and T. Browne, eds. 2012. Handbook of health social work. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mavis Dako-Gyeke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Doris A. Boateng
    • 1
  • Abigail A. Mills
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social WorkUniversity of GhanaLegonGhana

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