Burden of Disease Research Unit
Prof Debbie Bradshaw, MSc, DPhil (Oxon)
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.
BOD Staff photo