Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Health systems are inequitable around the world: they provide higher quality health services to the wealthy than to the impoverished. Thus, the poor and marginalised continue to suffer the impact of multiple diseases.
South Africa faces a quadruple burden of disease. This scourge results from the confluence of HIV and tuberculosis (TB) with non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer), perinatal and maternal conditions, and injury and violence. There is a growing urgency to address the challenges through research and policy.
This – combined with the populations in their midst – gives African researchers a pressing need to address diseases affecting good health and wellbeing, an area in which UCT has developed world-leading expertise.
Among the many UCT research groups doing work in this area is the cross-faculty Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), which conducts leading-edge research relevant to Africa. IDM researchers from the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) and Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa) were leading contributors to a study that produced the first sign of a potentially effective vaccine against TB in almost 100 years.
In the realm of non-communicable diseases, the Heart of Africa group, under the aegis of the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa, investigates the prevalence, presentation and management of cardiac disease. Meanwhile UCT’s Division of Human Nutrition is part of a global consortium of research and advocacy organisations in nine countries encouraging youngsters to help drive policy change to tackle the obesity epidemic among adolescents.
In the field of public health, UCT houses several centres leading the way in Africa. For example, the Health Economics Unit (HEU) contributes to health financing and policy in South Africa and Africa, and the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research’s (CIDER) multi-disciplinary research team conducts research and policy work on TB, HIV and COVID-19 in southern Africa.
Established in 2018, UCT’s Neuroscience Institute provides an interdisciplinary research and clinical space to study and treat mental and neurological disorders, as well as brain development and injury.