Family Medicine & Primary Care
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care

Clinical Service and Social Impact​ ​

Community interaction and service mission statement

The Division supports the concept of service learning with an emphasis on health promotion, disease prevention, family and community-orientated primary care. There is a commitment to working with communities at the local level, critically reflecting on health needs, prioritizing and supporting change. Engagement with community resources and projects looks at how we can support local initiatives but also what we can learn from communities. Intersectoral collaboration is an important principle.

In relationship with the province there is a clearly defined cohort of joint staff and a focus on building their academic skills and capacity. Operational research assists with the implementation of evidence and policy as well as improvement in quality of care. Academia actively engages with the debates on the future of primary health care at a provincial and national level. Student learning and service delivery are aligned where this is possible.

The Division provides training on behavior change counseling / motivational interviewing.

The Division engages with partners in other African countries to help develop family medicine and primary care.


The contribution of family physicians to district health services 

An important consensus document on the role of family physicians was produced towards the end of 2014: The contribution of family physicians to district health services: a position paper for the National Department of Health.
The document is available on the SAAFP website:

The position paper was also published in the South African Family Practice journal during 2015.

​Prof Bob Mash presented this position paper at the Annual General Meeting of the SAAFP on 4 December 2014 - see podcast of his presentation:

Values-driven leadership in Primary Health Care

Professor Louis Jenkins from the Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, and Dr Zilla North, medical manager at George Regional Hospital in the Garden Route district in South Africa, together with Professor Arnold Smit from the University of Stellenbosch Business School, presented their work on Values-Driven Leadership in Healthcare at the Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) Conference in Mexico, online, during September 2020. Meeting in multi-professional small groups in workshops over 4 weekends during the course of a year, discussing real ethical dilemmas in health care have helped participants to give a voice to their values, rescript previous rationalizations, and take action in the workplace, which lead to local leadership development and solutions to previously unsolved issues in the workplace. During the Covid-19 crises online monthly MS Teams meetings with sub-district health colleagues and managers in the Garden Route and Central Karoo are continuing to deal with ethical issues in clinical practice.