Research Overview

About the MRC/Wits-Agincourt Unit
The Agincourt Health and Socio-Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS), located in in rural northeast South Africa close to the Mozambique border, provides the foundation for the Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit of the Medical Research Council (MRC) and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (the MRC/Wits-Agincourt Unit). Its origins lie in the university’s ‘Health Systems Development Unit’ that in the early 1990s focused on district health systems development, sub-district health centre networks and referral systems and training of clinically oriented primary health care nurses. The Agincourt HDSS was a founding member of the International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health (INDEPTH) (www.indepth-network.orgRead more.
Health and Social Responses
The dynamics of health transition are reflected in the burdens affecting rural adults. Studies are occurring in epidemiology and treatment of epilepsy as well as the health and wellbeing of ageing populations.
Theme Leader:
Steve Tollman
Overview
Child and Adolescent Health and Development
In rural South Africa morbidity, mortality and growth failure associated with malnutrition exist alongside female obesity and emerging cardiovascular disease. By tackling proximal issues of infant growth and nutrition, and social and emotional development in children, we aim to impact more distal outcomes including cognitive development, educational attainment, and adult metabolic disease.
Theme Leaders:
Kathy Kahn and Shane Norris
Overview
Levels, Trends and Transitions
This theme seeks to understand dynamics of demographic and epidemiological change in rural populations undergoing rapid and multiple transitions, and to identify the forces driving that change.
Theme Leader:
Mark Collinson
Overview
Adult Health, Ageing and Wellbeing
The Agincourt Unit is examining the immediate and longer term impacts of HIV/AIDS and antiretroviral therapy roll-out. This work will support provincial and national efforts and provide evidence on delivery models, coverage and individual and population impacts of ARTs, as well as efforts to improve chronic disease treatment.
Theme Leaders:
Steve Tollman
F. Xavier Gómez-Olivé
Overview

Source: L Hunter

Livelihoods, Health and Wellbeing
Rural households remain under pressure. Sudden shocks, whether job loss or death of a breadwinner, can destabilise households; similarly, protracted stresses such as drought or chronic illness can undermine coping capacity and livelihoods. Key to understanding how to improve health and social development is to examine the strategies employed by households to gain livelihoods and cope with shocks and stresses.
Theme Leaders:
Mark Collinson
Overview