Seminars and Workshops

This list comprises the seminars and workshops hosted by the Centre  - presented by visting and local scholars as well as by emerging researchers. It also includes events hosted by collegial departments and organisations relating to HIV in context.


13 September 2013

Monitoring socio-economic inequalities in health: Global lessons from Scotland

- Prof John Frank (Director, Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy, Edinburgh)


What are we learning about best practices in monitoring - and therefore being able to address - persistent socio-economic inequalities in health? As South Africa's quadruple burden of disease persists, HIV becomes a chronic disease, and policy and interventions require both context and disease-specific and cross-cutting data for monitoring, evaluation, and implementation, what can we learn from other countries? Drawing on his experience in Canada, Africa, and most recently as Director of the Scottish Collaboration on Public Health Research and Policy, Professor Frank will review the evidence and policy debates behind a Scottish case study reported in two recent major monographs in The Milbank Quarterly. Scotland faces deep and persistent social and health inequalities, manifest in a chronic disease epidemic. The Scottish government produces exemplary annual reports on inequalities and health, but while these are superb in their use of cutting-edge analytic methodologies they suffer from the inherent weaknesses of the health outcomes routinely collected in most countries at the population level. Does the problem reflect insensitive or at least hard-to-interpret health outcomes, weak redistributive policies, or both? What are the implications for South Africa and for cross-country, cross-disease, and cross-sectoral monitoring, policy, and action?

Professor John Frank is Director of the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy, MRC, Edinburgh and spent several years in Tanzania before becoming a key figure in population health research, policy and practice in Canada. He was the founding Director of Research at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto from 1991 to 1997.In 2000, he was appointed inaugural Scientific Director of the Institute of Population and Public Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. His broad research and professional interests concern the determinants of population and individual health status, and especially the causes, remediation and prevention of socio-economic gradients in health.



21 August 2013

Making healthcare accountable: The role of civil society in monitoring stock-outs

- Dr Amir Shroufi and Dr Andrew Mews (Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) South Africa)


Thousands of people living with HIV and TB still risk death and drug-resistance in the Eastern Cape due to on-going interruptions to their supply of life-saving drugs. In January 2013, a coalition consisting of the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP), Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and SECTION27 released a report "Emergency Intervention at Mthatha Depot: The Hidden Cost of Inaction" analysing the impact of a management and drug supply crisis at the Mthatha depot. It was estimated that thousands of people were forced to interrupt their HIV treatment – potentially leading to tens of excess deaths over the course of the year. Despite the report’s clear recommendations to health authorities on solving the problem, in May 2013 the situation still remained critical. A follow up report was released in June 2013 at the South African AIDS Conference calling for urgent action from the National Department of Health and Eastern Cape Department of Health (EC DoH) to resolve the crisis by facilitating proper service at the depot and resolving the systemic failings in the drug supply chain affecting more than 100,000 people who depend on 300 facilities served by the depot.

Dr Amir Shroufi and Dr Andrew Mews will discuss the situation with regard to essential drug stock-outs and civil society response in the southern and East African region, describe several examples of civil society action to prevent, monitor and respond to stock-outs, and explore how civil society can strengthen its role in monitoring and preventing stock-outs. The novel Stop Stock-outs (SSO) campaign will be introduced.


Andrew Mews is the Head of Mission of MSF South Africa and Lesotho. Amir Shroufi is the Deputy Medical Coordinator for MSF South Africa and Lesotho Both have been closely involved in the MSF intervention and follow up of stock-outs in the Eastern Cape.




11 June 2013

Irregular migration, human trafficking and HIV and AIDS in South Africa

- Dr Joshua O Aransiola (CRHA, School of Public Health, UWC)


The relationship between migration and health is becoming an area of interest to researchers across the globe. In many countries, however, irregular migration, including human trafficking, has been treated purely as a criminal issue to the neglect of its health dimensions. This study explored NGO and government agency perspectives on the challenges confronting irregular migrants to access treatment and care for HIV in South Africa - and the difficulties involved in curbing trafficking in human beings as one of the ways of addressing HIV. This seminar reflected on a recent qualitative study of the perception of different stakeholders working in the area of human trafficking and HIV and AIDS in selected communities in South Africa. Its aim was to understand the challenges and strategies that could be employed to improve access to care for migrants generally and the efforts needed to combat irregular migration, especially human trafficking, in the country.


Joshua Aransiola, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Centre for Research in  HIV and AIDS obtained a B.Sc, M.Sc and PhD in Sociology and Anthropology from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He started his career in 2000 as a lecturer and researcher in the same department. His research interests includes women and children's rights, sexual and reproductive health and HIV and AIDS.


20 August 2012

'Fix the Patent Laws' Campaign

- Catherine Tomlinson (Treatment Action Campaign)

South Africa provides greater protection regarding intellectual property than is required internationally. Because of this, medicines off-patent in other parts of the world often remain on-patent and extremely expensive in South Africa. The high cost of medicines under patent can block access to medicine for patients in urgent need. Given their high price, patented medicines are often not provided through the public sector or fully covered in the private sector.
Catherine Tomlinson explained how amending South Africa’s patent law would help to reduce the cost of medicines.  She also discussed the ongoing pressure faced by South Africa and other developing countries to strengthen intellectual property protection and how the Treatment Action Campaign and Medicins Sans Frontieres were fighting back in the joint campaign to 'FIX THE PATENT LAWS'. More information on the campaign can be found at

Catherine Tomlinson is the Senior Researcher for the Treatment Action Campaign where she has worked for four years in TAC’s Policy, Communication and Research Department. Catherine is particularly interested in intellectual property and medicine access and is currently working on TAC’s campaign to amend the Patents Act 57 of 1978.

1 August 2012

Human resources, health and HIV: Do districts know who’s doing what, and where? A case study of an urban and rural district in the public health sector monitoring Human Resources for Health using human resource information

- Verona Mathews (School of Public Health, UWC)

Accurate and valid human resource information is required at all levels within the public health sector for informed planning, management, and decision-making on Human Resources for Health for all health programmes, especially HIV/AIDS.  There is a need to systematically analyse trends, develop perspectives, define response strategies and develop a coherent plan to address the wide spectrum of issues that impact on the production, retention and distribution of Human Resources in the public health sector. The seminar reflected on a project using an action research approach in implementing a district-based Human Resource Information System in two districts in the public health sector.  The approach adopted a framework using a monitoring system consisting of a small set of indicators to strengthen workforce management and the planning capacity of human resource planners and managers.  The seminar focused on the processes undertaken in the two districts through describing how their structure and other factors influenced the feasibility and successful implementation of a district-based Human Resource Information System.

Verona Mathews is a lecturer at the School of Public Health and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Public Health.  Initially she worked for several years on developing and implementing the Health Information System in South Africa but her focus and passion has always been in developing district-based information systems using a bottom-up approach.  For the last seven years she has focussed her activities on human resource management and developing, building capacity and using human resource information for the monitoring and management of the public health workforce.

28 June 2012

Perceptions of HIV and AIDS-related stigma among employees in the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

- Buyile Bashe (Organisational Wellness Manager, Parliament of South Africa)

The threat that HIV/AIDS poses to most institutions, including the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, can potentially be decreased by reducing stigma and discrimination.  Parliament’s policy on HIV and AIDS provides protection for people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) against stigma and discrimination.

This seminar reflected on a recent qualitative study of employee perceptions of HIV/AIDS stigma and of the effectiveness of existing programmes in Parliament in order to inform improved anti-stigma strategies and interventions in Parliament as well as other workplace settings.

Buyile Bashe, Organisational Wellness Manager at Parliament, graduated from UCT with a B. Nursing degree in 1998. In 2004 he completed a Management Programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School followed in 2012 by an MPH at the School of Public Health, UWC. Buyile started his career as a Professional Nurse at the Vanguard Community Health Centre in the City of Tygerber - and in 2000 as a Senior Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Eskom: Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. He has been an Organisational Wellness Manager at Parliament from 2007, where he is responsible for the health and wellbeing of Members of Parliament and employees.

14 October 2011

Economics and HIV: Costs and consequences

- Prof Alan Whiteside (HEARD, UKZN)


21 September 2011

Gender equality, reproductive rights and public health: Reflections on research, politics and practice

- Prof Marleen Temmerman (University of Ghent, and the International Centre for Reproductive Health)


 12 September 2011

Patterns of adherence

– Dr Fiona Larkan (Centre for Global Health, Trinity College, Dublin)

Interdisciplinarity and the massification of ART

- Dr Saris (NUI Maynooth)


fiona larkan

Dr Fiona Larkan is Assistant Professor and course director for the MSc in Global Health at the Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin. Her work concentrates on the inter-related areas of behaviour, risk and health and she has spent many years working with hard-to-reach populations – drug-users, sex workers, and those not accessing health and welfare services. Having lived and worked between South Africa and Ireland for over 25 years, Dr Larkan has a special interest in structural violence and the socio-cultural aspects of HIV and AIDS. She currently heads up a research project which seeks to understand barriers to access to ARV treatment for HIV and AIDS in South Africa’s Western Cape Province – a  project which is funded by the Irish Health Research Board, Irish Aid and supported by the Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium.


Dr Saris is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, NUI Maynooth. He holds advanced degrees in Social-Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago (MA and PhD), and he has completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinically-Relevant Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (1992-1994). He has been working for more than fifteen years in medical and psychological anthropology in Ireland, North America, and South Africa, where he has researched and published on such diverse issues as the social life of mental hospitals, the experience of major mental illness, colonialism and its aftermath, poverty and structural violence, drug abuse, and HIV risk and treatment.


14 April 2011

Everyone has a story: Writing your way through HIV (Interactive workshop)

-  Dr Allan Peterkin  (Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto)


1 March 2011

The problem with HIV prevention experts is that we have too much sex in mind

- Dr David Harrison (CEO, DG Murray Trust)

  Discussant: Prof Tania Vergnani  ( Director, HIV/AIDS Programme, UWC)


16 February 2011

African migrants living with HIV in London: Patterns of difference

-  Prof Lesley Doyal  (Prof of Health and Social Care, University of Bristol)


Lesley Doyal is Professor of Health and Social Care at the University of Bristol. She has published extensively on gender, health and health care and acts as a consultant on these issues to a wide range of organisations including the WHO, the UN and the Global Forum for Health Research. Her recent books include 'What Makes Women Sick: Gender and the political economy of health' (Macmillan) and 'Women and Health Services: An agenda for change'(Open University Press).


19 January 2011

Interrupted education: A public health risk for migrant youth

 - Prof Sally Guttmacher (Public Health Program, New York University)


What happens to young people who have migrated to South Africa from Zimbabwe?
Prof Sally Guttmacher presented preliminary findings from research exploring the migration and post-migration histories of Zimbabwean youth in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Interrupted education and lack of access to school and health services compound experiences of political and structural violence in Zimbabwe, sexual violence during migration, and unsupportive social environments, dramatically increasing public health and HIV risks of youth. Many migrants report coming to South Africa to continue their education, which has been interrupted in Zimbabwe, yet find themselves unable to access schools in South Africa. What can be done?


Writing retreats

The CRHA has held four writing retreats over the last few years in nearby rural areas of the beautiful Western Cape.  


The idea has been to to make time for researchers and academics to write, either alone or collaboratively. Participants have worked on PhD theses, journal articles, policy briefs, conference reports and chapters for books, all related to addressing “HIV in context” and strengthening human capacity to address HIV in public health and systems perspectives.


The writing retreats are offered in the first instance to Centre Associates – researchers, students and government or civil society partners working on projects linked to the Centre. As space permits, additional participants working on related themes are invited to join. All participants apply in advance, describing a specific writing project and the objectives for the retreat, and submit a brief reflection afterwards to help shape future retreats and deepen our collective understanding of the rhythms of writing for publication.


Not only do retreats provide dedicated time away from regular commitments - both professional and domestic - but they are also opportunities for glorious walks and rejuvenating quiet environments.