Strategic Approach

Our Strategy Statement

We will deliver excellent science and innovation, that impacts on priority public health problems within the African region and develops human capital. We will forge local, regional and global partnerships to support this agenda and create an environment that attracts, develops and retains skilled and talented personnel, who share our passion for better health in Africa.

Focus Areas

HIV Treatment and Prevention

Our work spans the continuum of HIV care including the development of HIV prevention interventions and technologies, the optimisation of HIV treatment, the prevention and management of HIV co-morbidities including NCDs, and enabling health systems strengthening. Our strategy includes new research in mother-infant pairs in the context of new ARV introductions. As HIV affects vulnerable populations, we continue to develop models of care for key populations, adolescents, young women, LGBTI communities and sex workers.

Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH)

Our research agenda focuses on contraception, understanding the vaginal microbiome, and the prevention and treatment of STIs. We continue to support the development of new contraceptive technologies, drugs and vaccines for STI control. Our strategy focuses on supporting the scale-up of interventions to eliminate cervical cancer, using novel screening and vaccination approaches. We also focus on the development of new drugs and vaccines for gonorrhoea, given the context of emerging AMR. We continue to use implementation science to support systems strengthening approaches for SRH programmes.

Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs)

As a leading partner in the ALIVE Consortium we are developing an agenda that evaluates new vaccines for maternal immunisation, for HIV and TB, and for STIs. We continue to identify questions at the forefront of vaccine research such as; understanding disease burden, optimising vaccine schedules (HPV), measuring the impact of new vaccine introduction (HPV and maternal vaccines), and supporting the development of new vaccines that prevent pathogens for which AMR is emerging as a global challenge (HSV, gonorrhoea).

Emerging public health challenges for the African region

Situated in the inner city of Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest urban hub, we will broaden our current research agenda that explores interventions to address vulnerabilities associated with climate change, gender, migrancy and marginalisation, into an expanded research and intervention agenda more widely focused on urbanisation.

Developing the next generation of research scientists and clinicians

As part of the University of Witwatersrand we will develop our research capacity building capability, to equip the next generation of scientists and clinicians through mentorship and teaching of Masters, PhD and postdoctoral students. We will identify the educational needs of all Wits RHI staff¬ and provide them with appropriate support and training, so that everyone can reach their potential and grow within the organisation and beyond.

Strategic Enablers

Populations in Need:

Focusing on target populations where greatest impact of health investments can be made.

Location Focus:

Maintaining a strong body of work in South Africa and leveraging it to support improvements in the region and globally.

Innovation & Technology Application:

Using innovative approaches and leveraging technological solutions to improve health outcomes.

Collaboration for Change:

Leverage collaborations and partnerships to ensure broader impact.

The top six goals of the organisation’s work in South Africa, the African region and globally:
  • Initiating and completing relevant, responsive, quality research led by Wits RHI researchers in strategic partnerships.
  • Translating new and existing technologies and innovations into high impact public health programmes.
  • Advocacy, policy development and health systems strengthening in support of evidenced-based public health programmes.
  • Informing communities, the broader public and key stakeholders about key public health issues.
  • Producing and inspiring the next generation of women and African scientists, public health professionals and managers.
  • Creating a sustainable, agile, happy organisation for our staff¬ and for the future.