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South Africa - University of Cape Town

Map of South Africa.

Center of Excellence

University of Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa (Coordinating Center)
Principal Investigator: Naomi Levitt, M.D.

Center of Excellence Activity Site

  • South Africa

Developed Country Partner

Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Principal Investigator: Thomas A. Gaziano, M.D., M.Sc.


South African vilage

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and certain cancers have steadily emerged as major threats to health across the spectrum of sub-Saharan Africa's diverse racial, ethnic, and social class groupings. CVD mortality rates in South Africans of working age (35 to 64 years old) are reported to be higher than in people of similar age in the United States and Portugal. For example, CVD mortality in South Africa for this age group is predicted to increase by 41 percent from 2000 to 2030. Nearly half of the deaths caused by CVD occur before the age of 65, four times the rate in the United States. These premature deaths have a major impact on the economy.


The goal is to promote the development, evaluation, and implementation of an evidence-based and sustainable multi-faceted model of care that will result in the reduction of the burden of chronic diseases and risk factors among underserved populations in sub-Saharan Africa. This work will be done as part of the sub-Saharan African Center for Control of Chronic Diseases, which is a collaborative network composed of staff from the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University, Harvard University, the Medical Research Council, the Government of the Western Cape, South Africa, the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and the Shree Hindu Mandal Hospital of Tanzania.

Research Activities

The NHLBI-funded research activities will:

  • Calibrate and validate a non-laboratory based screening tool for CVD risk prediction in South Africa.
  • Compare the effectiveness of a training program for primary care health practitioners based on an integrated clinical care guideline with the current training and care for chronic diseases.
  • Develop a decision analytic model of CVD that will allow the accurate prediction of CVD events to be used in a cost-effectiveness analysis comparing the use of different screening and intervention strategies.


The training of doctoral and postdoctoral students will be integrated into the three primary research aims, in order to promote the development of future cardiovascular and pulmonary disease research capacity.


The Center of Excellence in South Africa receives funding from UnitedHealth Group and the NHLBI.

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Last Updated: August 27, 2012

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