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SAPRIN launches two urban nodes to improve South African epidemic response

​To expand to a national network and to improve its response to COVID-19 and other epidemics, South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN) has recently added new Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) nodes in Gauteng. SAPRIN is a national research platform funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and hosted by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

In Gauteng, the new node has been awarded to the Gauteng Research Triangle (GRT), a consortium that is a collaboration of three research universities: University of Johannesburg (UJ), University of Witwatersrand (Wits) and the University of Pretoria (UP).

The GRT proposes a dispersed node comprising three main sites – Hillbrow which has a population of approximately 50 000 in the selected Small Area Layers (SAL), Atteridgeville with 30 000 within selected SALs), as well as Melusi a slowly formalising informal arear near Atteridgeville with a population of 20 000 individuals. The selected Small Area Layers from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) form a single contiguous space for each site; the three sites together comprise the node.

The UJ GRT team is a collaboration between the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering, led by Executive Deans Prof Sehaam Khan and Prof Daniel Mashao, respectively.

The GRT initiative will focus on population, infrastructure and regional economic development with the main objective being to understand the relationships between health outcomes and inequality, class, socio-economic status, and related issues. The overarching vision of GRT initiative is to create a world-class multidisciplinary health and demographic surveillance system that covers three key types of poor urban areas in Gauteng province, and that draws on expertise of world-leading researchers from the three Gauteng universities.

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