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.