South Africa
Overview of research project
This study is comprised of three sub-studies that together make up our research into the healthcare response to COVID-19.

Firstly, we will conduct a policy review: to identify and analyse what the South African health policy and guideline documents specify as ‘the response’ in relation to COVID-19. This will serve as informative background data and will provide both a broad-based and top-level / official view of responses to COVID-19 (focusing on the national and provincial health levels, and where appropriate specific municipal levels). This will be conducted in real time as the state’s approach is likely to shift in response to the epidemiological and healthcare context and societal needs and reactions.

Secondly, we will map stakeholder responses: to track the emerging healthcare approach through scoping ‘what the healthcare response means’ to a range of key stakeholders involved within the healthcare system. We will map how the public sector responds, and how the provincial and municipal levels implement policies developed at the national level; how the private sector responds; how civil society responds; how communities respond and; how other stakeholders respond. As a part of the mapping exercise, responses and interventions will be identified at different levels within the healthcare system to determine who, what and how stakeholders react to COVID-19.

Thirdly, we will conduct case studies: to focus on several pertinent examples to obtain an in-depth understanding of the interventions implemented by key stakeholders and their experiences of responding to COVID-19. Based on the aforementioned mapping exercise, both typical and atypical cases will be selected for further explicit empirical qualitative data collection. This component of the study will enable an understanding of: a) the factors that shape health care, clinical decision-making and actions; b) the perceptions of key stakeholders in relation to the suitability of care delivery models and available infrastructure to deal with the epidemic; c) healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences of working in the context of COVID-19, and; d) the perceptions and experiences of other key COVID-19 stakeholders about the response.

Lastly, all the data collected for the study will be brought together and analysed by means of an in-depth situational analysis. The macro, meso and micro level findings will be contextualised and analysed using existing socio-ecological and public health models to understand the social determinants of health, healthcare, and the impact of such on responses to COVID-19. Recommendations for policy, practice and further research are likely to emerge from the results of this study.
Name of researcher/developer
Dr Kezia Lewins, Dr Silvie Cooper and Professor Lorena Nunez-Carrasco
Primary organisation
Sociology Department, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Opportunity type
Opportunity detail
Funding assistance to support research costs, research infrastructure, research assistants and publishing costs is sought. There are 3 phases of the research envisioned, over a period of 6 months to 3 years - we therefore require short, medium and long term funding.

We are a dynamic inter-disciplinary team across the social and health sciences at Wits, with international collaborators. We are keen to work with local and international partners to strengthen the existing research and advocacy role.
Self-funded (e.g. from own or institutional resources)
Stage of development
Early phases of the project in progress (SS1and SS2); awaiting ethics clearance for fieldwork (SS3)
Research Category
Social Science