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16 March 2012

New R42m national study starts in four provinces

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and study partners kick starts its R42m national health survey, the South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES) in four provinces as from Monday, March 19, 2012.

Several specially trained fieldworkers and health professionals will be visiting selected households in two areas each in the following provinces to collect information that would be vital to the Department of Health. The initial provinces and areas are:

  • KwaZulu Natal, namely Stanger – Gledhow and Imbali – Ezithandeni
  • Western Cape, namely Ravensmead and Kenilworth
  • Limpopo, namely Ga-Mabulela and Mosira
  • Gauteng, namely Alexandra and Tembisa

The study aims to collect data for the national Department of Health. Each area will have fieldworkers visiting households and encouraging members of the communities to undergo free medical check-ups in the mobile clinics that will be operated by medical doctors and nurses.


“SANHANES is a national household survey to be conducted by the HSRC and its partners that focuses on the health and nutritional status of all South Africans,” said Prof Demetre Labadarios, one of four Principal Investigators.

He added that the results of this survey supports the National Department of Health’s (NDoH) priority health indicators and will inform policy makers about the health and nutritional status of people of both genders and of all ages in the country.
Dr Olive Shisana, another Principal Investigator and CEO of the HSRC said that aim of SANHANES is to assess the health and nutritional status of the South African population, where we aim to collect data on diabetes, heart diseases and blood pressure in the South African population.”

She added that we need more data on the health status of children under the age of 5 years. We need to learn what South African adults and children know, believe and feel about diet, nutrition and weight management.
Dr Shisana urged all selected South Africans to participate in this survey and open their doors to the easy identifiable SANHANES fieldworkers.

Prof Leickness Simbayi, another Principal Investigator, said that participation is voluntary and we encourage all participants from the selected households to participate.
“Participants will benefit personally by knowing the results of their health status. Participants will be informed by post if they need further medical treatment. Participants who are found by the doctor to be in need of immediate medical care will be referred to the nearest clinic or hospital. And the findings of the survey will benefit the country by identifying priority areas for health policy,” said Prof Simbayi.

Prof Labadarios explained that participants will be asked to visit a mobile clinic where a doctor will conduct a free of charge medical check-up, a nurse who will draw a small amount blood for analysis of glucose, cholesterol, and vitamins and minerals, and a clinic assistant who will take some measurements (e.g. weight and height as well as body fat).
“SANHANES is the first of its kind to be conducted in South Africa. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews in households with physical examinations in mobile clinics”, explained Professor Thomas Rehle, one of the four Principal Investigators.
To check if fieldworkers are from the HSRC you can contact the following Study Directors:

    •    Dr Whadi-ah Parker                    021 466 8000
    •    Prof Thelmah Maluleke              012 302 2000
    •    Dr Gugu Mchunu                         031 242 5400
    •    Dr Aziza Mwisongo                      012 302 2000

SANHANES is funded by the National Department of Health (NDoH) and the Department for International Development (DFID). Its study partners are the South African Medical Research Council (MRC), Stats SA, the Presidency, USAID, UNICEF and six universities based in South Africa.