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Monday, March 8, 2021

Universal Health Coverage




South Africa’s health system is sub-optimal compared to other countries with similar levels of health expenditure. Poor health outcomes, health system inefficiencies and inequitable access to care are key drivers for health care reforms on universal health care coverage – quality care available to all South Africans irrespective of their ability to pay. CHP has a Chair for Health Policy and Systems Research whose programme focuses on universal health coverage (UHC).


The five-year programme focuses on access to healthcare through three inter-related building blocks derived from WHO - financing,health workforce, and leadership and governance. Working at the district level, the research agenda aims to provide new knowledge and guidance on how best to design and implement current health care reforms in terms of institutions and practices. In other words, what institutional, management and work practices might improve access to healthcare? It will also work on considering whether changes established in other countries might be effectively employed in South Africa.


The Chair of Health Policy and Systems Research, Professor John Eyles, is a member of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis at McMaster University in Canada, and brings a rich international network of research and policy collaboration to CHP. The programme contributes to existing CHP projects, such as RESYST, UNITAS and CHEPSAA, which are working with partners in Africa and further afield. In addition, it will benefit from existing partnerships with two South African chairs active in the field, namely the NRF/DST Chair of Health and Wealth (Professor Di McIntyre, UCT and the Chair of Health Policy and Systems (Professor Lucy Gilson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine/UCT).

Capacity Development

This programme will contribute to scientific and research capacity by mentoring and producing PhD and Post-Doctoral Fellows, as well as supporting new PhD supervisors within the school and developing research skills of Masters of Public Health students.

Associated publications


Harris B, Eyles J, Penn-Kekana L, Fried J, Nyathela H, Thomas L, Goudge J. (2014) Bringing Justice to Unacceptable Health Care Services? Street-Level Reflections from Urban South Africa. International Journal of Transitional Justice;8 (1):141-61.

Harris B, Eyles J, Penn-Kekana L, Thomas L, Goudge J
Adverse or acceptable: negotiating access to a post-apartheid health care contractGlobalization and Health. 2014;10(1):35.

Newbold B, Heddle N, Lane S, Arnold E, Eyles J & Webert K. (2014) Risks, benefits and the role of stakeholders in pathogen reduction technologyHealth, Risk & Society, 16:6,547-564. DOI: 10/1080/13698575.2014.943159.

Eyles J, Lee O, Birch S. (2014). Stigma and HIV/AIDS in South Africa: Exploring respect and treatment adherence. International Journal of Tropical Disease and Health, 4: 311-329.

Heddle NM, Lane SJ, Sholapur N, Arnold E, Newbold B, Eyles J & Webert K. (2014) Implementation and public acceptability: Lessons from food irradiation and how they might apply to pathogen reduction in blood productsVox Sanguinis, 02/2014; DOI: 10.1111/vox.12135.


Fried J, Sunderji A, Birch S, and Eyles J. (2013) The reason that I did not go - determinants of the use of antenatal care services in South Africa, two decades after the end of apartheid. Canadian Journal of African Studies, 47: 27-50.

Book Chapters:

Orgill M, Nxumalo N, Made W, Erasmus E, Lehmann U, Goudge J, Gilson L.  Health Policy and Systems Research: Needs, challenges and opportunities in South Africa – a University Perspective. South African Health Review 2013, Chapter 12; 2012/13 151-160.

Rispel L, Nieuwoudt S. Mainstreaming the Social Determinants of Health in South Africa: Rhetoric or reality.South African Health Review2013, Chapter 7; 89-101.

Rispel L, Moorman J. Health sector reforms and policy implementation in South Africa: A paradox?. In:  Daniel J; Naidoo P, Pillay D & Southall R (editors) New South African Review 3: The second phase-tragedy or farce. Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2013.Chapter 12; 239-260.

Rispel L, Hunter J. The Millennium Development Goals and healthcare reforms in South Africa; Progress and Challenges. Pillay U, Hagg G, Nyamnjoh F & Jansen J (editors). State of the Nation South Africa 2013. Cape Town: HSRC Press. Chapter 18; 536-566.