Sustainable Development Goals

Faculty of Health Sciences working towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals

The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP) is recognized nationally and internationally as an outstanding institution in terms of its education of health professionals, its research and its practical hands-on training of students. It is only by directing our academic efforts towards being problem-oriented that we can accelerate progress in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addressing SDG3 Health and Wellbeing, we support communities through the exceptional talent and dedication of our staff and students involved in projects which uplift health and well-being. This provides valuable life skills and training for our students while providing communities with access to an array of healthcare workers.


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Partners and Collaboration


UP has a range of transdisciplinary projects that help to promote healthy lives and well-being within a local, continental and global context. Click here to read more


Teaching and Learning: Curriculum Transformation


Teaching and Learning platforms need to be purposefully transformed to graduate learners who are able to connect across disciplines. By creating opportunities for transdisciplinary research and practical interaction, it allows our trainee health professionals a greater understanding of their role and contribution to society. Click here to read more.


Community Outreach

With community oriented primary care, healthcare students have a learning platform that takes them into the streets, homes, childcare establishments and schools where people live, work and play. Beginning in 2008 undergraduate medical students at the UP have participated in the Longitudinal Community Attachment Programme. From small beginnings, the LCAS is now part of every academic block from the middle of their first year to middle of their fifth year of study. Community based learning is also a requirement for postgraduate students.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the dire and immediate need of our vulnerable communities for basic necessities, such as sufficient nutrition and medical access.


The Covid-19 crisis brought attention to inequity that exist in our society and increased the risk for malnutrition. In vulnerable communities the nutrition status will be affected, and the malnourished will be more susceptible to a virus such as Covid-19. In many developing countries Covid-19 led to a health and nutrition crisis combined with a socioeconomic crisis. This reinforced the importance of being able to access water, sanitation, primary care and opportunities for work and education close to home. The COPC embarked on a five year food system research project, in collaboration with various partners including the UP departments of Family Medicine, Public Health, Dietetics, Architecture, Engineering, Veterinary Science and Agriculture, the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Food Security at UP’s Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Tebelo NPO, Living Word, and SA Cares with the launch of the Imvelo(from the Earth) Urban Food Systems at Living Word Pretoria East Congregation.

 Research and Education

Imvelo Food System - UP Interdisciplinary Initiative Helps Create Food Security for Vulnerable Communities

Students' Research Report - Moreleta Park Integration Project Research Report 2020


Sports and Exercise

The Faculty of Health Sciences is also host to the Sport, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Institute (SEMLI).  SEMLI is not only a research institute with the aim to address lifestyle and non-communicable diseases in a primary health care approach, but also is the host of a clinical facility that is open to the public.  The trans- and interdisciplinary approach include disciplines like Sports Medicine, Physiotherapy, Biokinetics, Human Nutrition and Dietetics, and others.

Maternal and Infant Health Care

The UP/SAMRC Research Centre for Maternal, Fetal, Newborn and Child Health Care Strategies research focus is developing and implementing effective interventions in maternal, new-born and child health care at primary and secondary levels of care.

This grant will allow expansion on early learning programmes by exposing children and teachers as well as community health workers to critical thinking skills development through playful learning with Lego and through robotics.

Together with the UP’s Community Oriented Primary Care unit the unit embarked on community outreach programmes that will focus on three key areas aimed at sustainable improvement: health, nutrition and education. This project aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates through improving access to essential and comprehensive medical maternal and child health services, and to train community health worker/health care providers and teachers of all the early learning centers in the informal settlement. This g will support and develop mothers and children to be able to self-actualize physical well-being and emotional strength/psychological well-being. We are also looking to improve overall health through nutritional education and cognitive development of mothers and children so as to encourage critical thinking, self-care and early learning by training the future trainers.


Staff and Student Wellbeing

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Free counselling services are offered to registered students by the Student Counselling Unit (SCU). In addition to mental health matters, the SCU offers career counselling, career assessment and a cognitive development programme / cognitive training, free of charge.  Hospital admissions are arranged free of charge. Medical intervention is limited but free in appropriate cases.  A 24 hour toll-free telephone crisis line is available to all students. This is run in partnership with the university counselling unit where student’s problems can be followed up face to face.

Student Health

Student Health Services (SHS) is committed to providing all students with sexual and reproductive health services that entails complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive health system. It implies that students are able to have a safe and healthy sex life, the capability to reproduce, and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. These services are available to all students and are free.  The Faculty of Health Sciences and the university also run specific campaigns to create awareness and to support students.

Sports and Exercise

Sports facilities are accessible to students, staff members, professional sports pupils and the local high school (TuksSport High School) for free (outdoor facilities) and non-members are charged a small fee. Indoors facilities (gymnasium, swimming pool, karate etc.) are not free of charge. This applies to students, staff and the community.

With more than 30 sports clubs, TuksSport offers a home for dedicated sports people but also creates an atmosphere for staff, students and members of the public to participate in a fun-filled and secure environment. In collaboration with the Student Sport Committee, TuksSport accommodates 9 000 participants per week throughout the year. TuksSport not only focuses on top performers but also on club contestants and recreational participants. It provides a comprehensive, high-performance support programme that ranges from scientific and medical, sports testing, fitness, technical and tactical expertise, sports injuries and sports psychology support.


Teaching and Learning platforms need to be purposefully transformed to graduate learners who are able to connect across disciplines. By creating opportunities for transdisciplinary research and practical interaction, it allows our trainee health professionals a greater understanding of their role and contribution to society. In addressing the below listed SDGs the Faculty’s offering is pulled together to address the burning question which is not whether we have the right solutions but rather “Do our communities have access to it?



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