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debbieBurden of Disease Research Unit

Director: Prof Debbie Bradshaw, MSc, DPhil (Oxon)
E-mail: debbie.bradshaw@mrc.ac.za

South Africa is undergoing profound changes in health and it is important to monitor this for planning purposes. The evolving health information systems are not yet able to provide comprehensive information on the trends in health status and the determinants. Critical assessment of available data is essential so that the data can be utilised to develop appropriate decision support information to guide health and health research policies. Careful analysis of available data sets are done by the Unit to develop coherent estimates from these data.

The Burden of Disease Research Unit was set up by the Medical Research Council to collate and analyse data relating to health status and factors affecting health. The mission of the Unit is to assess and monitor the country's health status and determinants of disease; and to project the future burden of disease in order to provide planning information to improve the health of the nation. Inequalities are of particular importance given the legacy of the Apartheid history in South Africa and the current macro-economic trends arising from globalisation. Multidisciplinary approaches are used drawing on epidemiology, demography and biostatistics. Expertise has been developed in the area of summary health measures, health surveys and the analysis of mortality data.

The unit collaborates with people at all levels of the health service and government in order to improve the surveillance and management information systems used to collect such data. In particular, technical support has been provided to government to improve vital registration and health surveys. Collaborations have been established with academic institutions and international agencies.

The unit is led by Debbie Bradshaw, MSc, DPhil (Oxon), an established researcher in the area of South African mortality and epidemiology. She trained as a biostatistician and developed expertise in epidemiology and demography during her career as a researcher. Her main research interests are mortality profiles and health transition. She has authored/co-authored peer reviewed articles and presented papers nationally and internationally. She serves on several advisory committees in the health and health research arenas.

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Last updated:
8 April, 2014
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