Skip to main content
Stay informed! Visit the SA Department of Health's website for COVID-19 updates:

Hillbrow | Atteridgeville | Melusi

Gauteng Research Triangle Inspired

The health and demographic surveillance national research infrastructure will be a distributed platform of HDSS nodes. Our argument is that to try and incorporate at least some of Gauteng’s urban complexity, the Gauteng node should be distributed across a manageable number of sites, as it slots into the national system. To quote SAPRIN, “The HDSS is a standardised, field-based information system and research platform … that will … routinely and continuously collect and assess … vital events, e.g. births and deaths (by cause), residence status and migration, household dynamics, socio-economic status, disease monitoring, labour and employment status, education status and social protection.” From the White Paper, through the Roadmap to the SAPRIN call for applications, the intention seems clearly to embed an understanding of vital events and statistics in an understanding of broader socio-economic, demographic and other social processes. Multidisciplinarity is often very challenging to realise after the fact, such as where a node is designed, set up and run purely as a health intervention. The gist of this proposal is that we are building multidisciplinarity into the design with the explicit intention of seeking to capture complexity via multi- and/or transdisciplinary teams working at nodal level.

In the work of all partners in this proposal, data are not an end in themselves, nor are academic outputs, important as they are. The work all partners do is aimed ‘upwards’ at policy-makers, to try and provide evidence to better inform, evaluate or evolve policy. This is as true of the Family Medicine Unit at UP as of WHRI in Hillbrow, the largest testing centre in the southern hemisphere.

Our real focus is ‘downwards’, to the communities with which we work, and by extension, to similar communities elsewhere. Whether this is by testing vaccines or the development of community oriented primary care, the focus remains on serving the needs of poorer communities, to improve their health status. They remain the real focus and partner in this endeavour.

The combined experience and commitment in this team is formidable, as is our commitment to changing the Gauteng space to improve the lives of the poor. It is in this spirit that we submit our proposal to SAPRIN.

News & Updates

Service Delivery Protest in Melusi community

21 May 2024
Angry residents of Melusi take it to the streets.

On the morning of Wednesday, 8th May 2024, Melusi residents protested against ongoing service delivery failures. The demonstrations caused major disruptions, blocking main streets and halting traffic. Fieldworkers were prevented from reporting to work as protesters forced them to join the strike. Authorities quickly responded to manage the situation.

Blockage on the main streets near Melusi.
Mayor of Melusi during protest action.

The protest was sparked by residents resorting to illegal electricity connections due to the lack of proper services. SAPS and Metro Police were called to dismantle these illegal connections, affecting the nearby Booysens suburb. Booysens residents have been without electricity for two weeks because a transformer blew out, a result of the illegal connections from Melusi. Community leaders expressed their frustration, noting that the mayor had promised to address the service delivery issues. However, with no visible progress, tensions and unrest have increased among residents.

Fortunately, no injuries occurred during the protests and police actions. However, the situation is becoming critical, necessitating urgent intervention to prevent further disruptions and risks. Melusi residents are demanding immediate action to resolve service delivery issues and restore normalcy.

Commemorating the Legacy of a Valued Community Leader, of Selaelo Mafa Mamabolo: A Pillar of the Melusi Community.

3 May 2024

It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of community leader Selaelo Mafa Mamabolo. A devoted husband, father of three, and brother to GRT-Inspired fieldworker Mosibudi Mamabolo, Mr. Mamabolo left an indelible mark through his 15+ years of service in Melusi. As a prominent SANCO member, Mr. Mamabolo’s acts positively impacted many lives. When break-ins plagued the Melusi Clinic, he rallied community night patrols to ensure safety. His collaborative efforts with residents led to the construction of secure palisade fencing around the clinic premises.

Dangerous Decay Inside Fontana High-Rise

26 April 2024

A routine data collection job at Fontana’s High Point high-rise turned into a scene of alarming urban decay and safety hazards. As the GRT-I field team entered the building, they encountered burnt-out units, abandoned belongings, and an atmosphere of ruin. 

Geographic Area

The Gauteng Research Triangle proposes a dispersed node comprising two main sites – Hillbrow (50 000 in the selected Small Area Layers), Atteridgeville (30 000 within selected SALs), and near to Atteridgeville is Melusi (20 000), a slowly formalising informal area.

Sites and nodes

The heart of our proposal is the dispersal of the node across three very different urban forms – inner city, established township and informal (but slowly formalising) settlement.

The rationale

The SAPRIN focus on long-term surveillance using high quality data to better understand health outcomes for the poor, as well as migratory patterns and their impact, is at the heart of this proposal.

Policy imperatives

Interdisciplinary research teams, and the integration of knowledge from different disciplines, as well as from users, are necessary to deal with complex problems. Increasingly scholars and policy makers are viewing such approaches as “science for the future”, and as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between science and society by putting social concerns at the core of scientific research.

Data, other data, and SAPRIN

It is worth noting that the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) has generated fascinating insights into the province – now taken as synonymous with the city-region. Moreover, the ‘Quality of Life’ survey series has created an invaluable longitudinal dataset, which includes important data on health, including mental health (alienation, anomie and a ‘marginalisation’ index), poverty, social attitudes (social capital, xenophobia, attitudes to gender-based violence and so on).

Community Engagement

Sprucing Up for Smiles: Volunteer Cleaning Day at Gerald Fitzpatrick Home

21 May 2024
GRT-I volunteering at Gerald Fitzpatrick house for the elderly.

As part of our community engagement efforts, the GRT-Inspired team, along with 11 Community Engagement Student volunteers, dedicated 9th May 2024 to assisting with cleaning at the Gerald Fitzpatrick Home in Bertrams. This facility now houses 75 elderly residents, including those from recently closed old age homes in Hillbrow and Berea.

Upon arrival, the staff warmly welcomed us and guided us to areas needing attention. The team was divided to tackle various cleaning tasks with provided materials:

  • Kitchen: Wiping down fridges, walls, and doors.
  • Bathrooms: Washing sinks and mopping floors.
  • Outdoor Areas: Cleaning garden spaces and walkways by removing debris and sweeping paths.
GRT-I showing up for the elderly.

The staff and residents expressed heartfelt gratitude for our efforts. We appreciated the opportunity to support the elderly and look forward to future community engagement activities.

GRT-I Melusi Brings Mega-Watt Smiles to World Oral Health Day

3 May 2024
Screening in progress

Melusi, Pretoria – When World Oral Health Day came around on March 20th, the GRT-I Melusi team rallied their community for a truly smile-worthy celebration! Joining forces with the University of Pretoria’s Department of Community Dentistry, they rolled out the red carpet for 219 beaming crèche kids in Melusi.

Hygiene Made Fun!

26 April 2024
Interactive session with pre-scholars

The GRT-I node continues to show its commitment to bettering the lives of the poor in their community. We identify gaps in the community, no matter how little to make to provide an education and make an impact.

Community engagement in UP – Melusi / Atteridgeville and WRHI – Hillbrow

22 June 2022

GRT-Inspired consist of 3 partners University of Witwatersrand, University of Johannesburg and University of Pretoria. The research communities are Hillbrow, Atteridgeville and Melusi.

Covid Sampling

24 April 2021

24th April 2021 was an exciting day for all teams as GRT-INSPIRED became a live project. Fieldworkers took to the field, signalling our first step outside of planning rooms and Covid lockdowns.