Research is guided by Ukwanda' s strategic plan for the period 2018-22. The focus of Ukwanda' s research is aimed at improving access and equity for rural communities, towards advancing rural health. This research is intended to be distinguished both by the rural context in which it occurs as well as the lens through which research is viewed.
Ukwanda is seeking to establish an ongoing research team, whose purpose would be:
- to establish and co-ordinate a long-term rural health research agenda for Ukwanda
- to provide research support to the Ukwanda personnel, undergraduate and postgraduate students for development of research proposals, implementation of research projects, data analysis, drafting of manuscripts and dissemination of findings
It is hoped that this research team would serve as a support hub not only for Ukwanda but also for staff from other divisions and departments who wish to conduct rurally relevant research, and for the staff of the Cape Winelands and Overberg district health departments.
The current research priorities of Ukwanda are as follows:
- Rural Health Professions Education.
This includes evaluation of components of the rural training models in the rural clinical school, both current and future, including different programmes, the Upington development, the different MBChB models in the RCS, tracking of graduates, reach on longitudinal integrated clerkships, and evaluation of the IDEAL rotation's new programmes. Ongoing collaboration with the Centre for Health Professions
- Collaborative care
This encompasses models of inter-professional and trans-disciplinary care, community-based care, and expansion of training and service beyond the health sciences, as well as examination of the impact of initiatives on communities.
- Rural child and family health
This is an important area of collaboration with other units, such as Fam-CRU and others, and with the Department of Health. It would include work related to early child development (the first 1000 days), HIV transmission and exposure in infants, foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, couple of relationships and inter-personal violence. This includes social determinants of child and family health.
- Clinical research in regional and district settings
A developing field is to support clinicians in examining issues related to the burden of disease in rural communities, the determinants of this burden of disease and the effectiveness of health care strategies to address this