Community Health
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Community Health

​​Centres & Units

Unit for Research on Health and Society

The Unit for Research on Health & Society (RHS) is an independent research unit that is situated at the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences in the Division of Community Health.

The principal aim of RHS is to do research on community, social, behavioural and human aspects of health towards improving the health status of all South Africans and contributing to knowledge and the understanding of public health and social development problems internationally. The focus area of Research on Health and Society (RHS) is to look at the relationship between social conditions and human cognition and behaviour on the one hand and health on the other. This is in recognition of the impact of social conditions and human cognition and behaviour on health and social development. This interaction has been found in a range of social conditions including poverty, income disparity, community violence, community cohesion, access to resources, quality of community leadership and overall levels of satisfaction with life, among other factors. Human cognition and behaviour is a vital consideration when looking at responses to interventions concerning health and social development.


Centre for Health Systems Strengthening (CHSS)

The Centre for Health Systems Strengthening (CHSS) established in 2014 is a multidisciplinary entity that provides a shared service and academic platform for health systems and services research and development (HSSRD) within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Health systems research is a multidisciplinary field of health research which studies governance, financial and delivery arrangements for health care and public health services, implementation considerations for reforming or strengthening these arrangements, and broader economic, legal, political and social contexts in which these arrangements are negotiated and operate . The purpose of health systems research is to improve the understanding and performance of health systems.

Health systems research includes all of health services research, most health policy research, and some clinical and population health research, but does not include any biomedical research (WHO & Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research 2012)


Unit for Infection Prevention and Control (UIPC)

The Unit for Infection Prevention and Control (UIPC)  was established by Community Health in 2004, and sited at Tygerberg Hospital in 2006. It is the first academic unit of its kind in Africa, and is headed up by a Public Health Specialist. The UIPC provides eleven training courses in IPC and related subjects and, apart from South Africa it has extended its teaching programme to Namibia, Botswana and  Swaziland. The research is mainly related to TB-IPC and interventions suitable to low income countries. Clinical service is provided by the IPC team and is based on outcome of surveillance (in association with the Dept of Microbiology) carried out at TBH. At Provincial and National and international level, the UIPC advises on IPC related matters, and provides training for IPC at all levels of the health system.