Overview of Research Activities
Researchers within the School have for many years been involved in infectious disease research (both epidemiology and health systems research), mostly in the areas of HIV, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections (STI's). In addition to ongoing work for the Provincial Government, three research collaborations have provided the platform for a much wider research agenda:
- in 2000, the School was chosen to run a field site for phase II and III microbicide trials for a lead microbicide candidate, sparking the establishment of an infectious disease research grouping within the school
- around the same time, a large research project was launched in order to describe the epidemiology of tuberculosis in a single health district with a view to creating a vaccination research site
- the Unit was approached in 2001 by Médecins Sans Frontières to be their research partners in order to describe the outcomes of the first public sector antiretroviral treatment programme in South Africa
Scope of Research
The Centre is fortunate in having epidemiologists, demographers and social scientists as staff, ensuring a wide range of interdisciplinary research. In terms of a public health approach, the Unit attempts to keep a balance between: clinical trial research focussed on disease prevention; disease surveillance, epidemiology and modelling; clinical epidemiology of therapeutic interventions through observational studies; and, health systems research. In collaboration with the Health Economics Unit, staff have also been involved in the modelling of costs and cost-effectiveness of services for HIV and tuberculosis.
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