About Us

With a history deeply embedded in community health and its related fields, the school of Nursing and Public Health has a focus on primary health care principles. Five programmes of Community Health enhance the process: the Centre of Occupational and Environmental Health, the Centre of Health Management, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Health Economics and the Health Outcomes Research Unit and the Programme of Medical Ethics.

A grant from SANPAD – The SA-Netherlands Programme for Alternative Development – focuses on youth empowerment through inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration among SA and Dutch partners at Maastricht University. The Africa Centre, located at Mtubatuba and funded by the Wellcome Trust, is one of the first satellite academic training sites for Public Heath, and is making a significant contribution to the Public Health sector of the African continent.

The thrust is to understand population and health dynamics in the developing world. It provides a forum for African and international scientists to conduct research, develop local capacity and identify strategies to tackle and overcome the health challenges of the Sub- Saharan region.

To date, the Centre has created Africa’s most comprehensive Demographic Surveillance System, established a successful antiretroviral drug treatment programme for local people living with HIV/AIDS, and carried out clinical trials in a range of areas of critical importance to health in developing countries. An additional area of research investigates and assesses African systems of medicine.

The discipline of Nursing is recognised for its innovative educational programmes, its research activities, its extensive work in Africa, and its international network of scholars. UKZN Discipline of Nursing is a designated World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Community Problem Solving in Nursing and Midwifery and a Joanna Briggs Institute Collaborating Centre for Evidence Based Nursing and Midwifery Practice.

There are five (5) major focus areas of research within Nursing, viz. HIV/AIDS care and stigma; psycho-social rehabilitation; community health promotion; innovative teaching and learning; critical care and trauma management. Currently, there are 3 NRF rated scholars in nursing, with one having attained a B rating.

Curriculum developments and nursing education consultancy has been ongoing between the School and Health educational institutions which have included the United Arab Emirates, Rwanda, Eritrea, Niger, Lesotho, Swaziland, Burundi and two east African countries – Tanzania and Kenya. Nursing enjoys good working relationships with other international partners with whom Memoranda Of Understanding have been signed for collaboration such as Horschule Bremen University of Applied Sciences, in Germany, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and the School of Health and Social Care, Jyväskylä Polytechnic (Jypoly) in Finland, University of Tromso in Norway  and many other institutions.


The School’s vision is to establish itself as a best School of Nursing and Public Health, engaged in research that builds African scholarship, excellence in health care teaching and learning and meaningful community engagement.


  • Conducting high quality research that impact on lives of individuals and communities while extending boundaries of knowledge by building African scholarship while maintaining international standards
  • Promoting development of health care professionals through excellence in teaching and learning at regional, National and International communities.
  • Development of postgraduate studies that are driven by development, redress of past inequities and building sustainability and improving public health care in general
  • Producing health graduates that are able to take a lead in health care, particularly in the area of clinical practice, research, education, management both in public and private health care sectors.


The School’s goals include:

  • Building a Research Ethos that underpins all our academic activities

The school views research as a foundation of all academic activities and such all our teaching should be based on evidence as well as our community engagements. To achieve this objective it is necessary for all our staff to credential up to PhD level. The recruitment and optimization of postgraduate students and their success is also critical to achieve this goal and the embedment of research in all our teaching and learning activities as well as community engagement activities.

  • Teaching and Learning that is responsive to the health care needs of the country, advances African Scholarship and is comparable with international standards

To entrench excellence in teaching and quality student engagement with learning through contextualised, student-centred curricula with integrated academic development, innovative pedagogies and congruent assessment practices to translate equity of access into equity of outcome.

  • Community Engagement as Beneficiary and Benefactor

The SONPH plans to broaden and proactively develop and maintain mutually-beneficial engagement with select local, national and international communities. These will be strategically selected to advance teaching, learning, research and scholarship in the School and to develop capacity on the African continent.

  • Enabling and Collegial Academic Leadership and Management

To develop transformational leadership that engenders a collegial, nurturing, supportive academic environment that enables staff and students to realize their full potential in an operational framework epitomised by efficacy, efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Optimise human, infrastructural and operational resources

To optimize resources to advance the academic endeavour by improving on drivers of the resource allocation model to right-size the academic, technical and administrative staff complements, acquire and enhance teaching, learning and research spaces, grow operational budgets, strategically utilise the earmarked grants to the Health Sciences and proactively pursue endowments/sponsorships