26 NOVEMBER 2020

COPC Research Unit


The South African Population Research Infrastructure Network has developed a Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS), which is a standardised, field-based information system and research platform, with prospective data routinely collected from entire populations at both individual and household levels, in impoverished and developmentally-constrained communities, both rural and urban. Three rural HDSS nodes were established in South Africa (namely, MRC/Wits Agincourt HDSS in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, established in 1992 with a current population of 120,000; University of Limpopo Dikgale HDSS in Dikgale, Limpopo, established in 1996, with a current population of 38,000; and the Africa Health Research Institute’s Population Intervention Platform in uMkhanyakude, KwaZulu-Natal, established in 2000, with a population of 168,000).  Currently, the network of HDSS nodes is expanding to include two urban nodes, the Gauteng node and a Western Cape node, each with diverse sites.

The Gauteng research Triangle (GTR), an initiative taken by the three VC’s of UP, Wits and UJ to jointly create a trans-disciplinary research platform, was successful in it’s bid to manage the Gauteng project, called ‘GRT – INSPIRED: The Gauteng Research Triangle INitiative for the Study of Population, Infrastructure and Regional Economic Development’.  Key demographic and health indicators are monitored for a period of 20+ years and more, to inform national policies and program strategies of the Departments of Health, Social Development, Home Affairs, Basic Education, and others.  A representative sample of households will participate in the surveys, 50 000 residing in Hillbrow and Joubertpark (site with over-populated high-rise buildings), Johannesburg, and 50 000 residing in Melusi (an informal settlement) and Atteridgeville (a site with formal housing and backyard shacks), Tshwane.


The SAPRIN objectives are to:

  • Undertake population-based research to provide interdisciplinary evidence on rapidly changing health, wellbeing, and socio-economic profiles and their determinants
  • Determine how to target policies and interventions to address population health issues, poverty, inequality and unemployment
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of such policies.


The project is funded by:

  • The Department of Science and Technology / Medical Research Council South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN)
  • The Department of Science and Innovation, South Africa
  • Gauteng Research Triangle -INSPIRED
  • Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of Pretoria
Implementation Teams
News and Publications:


- Author Ronald Mosweu

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