Amref Health Africa in South Africa


Amref Health Africa is a non-governmental organisation headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and established in 1957. Our vision is Lasting Health Change in Africa.


Amref Health Africa responds to South Africa’s health challenges by finding innovative solutions to build the capacity of community and national health systems to diagnose, treat, and control diseases through infrastructure improvements, health workforce training, and strengthening information and monitoring systems. Amref Health Africa also emphasizes the integration of health services, social and economic empowerment of women, and a rights-based approach to health.


Amref Health Africa started work in South Africa at the invitation of the then Progressive Primary Health Care Movement of the Republic of South Africa. Early on, Amref Health Africa in South Africa worked in partnership with the University of Western Cape, with support from the UNICEF country office. In 2005, Amref Health Africa in South Africa became a non-profit organisation, and between 2005 and 2009 it grew from one project with a small staff to 11 projects with 56 staff.

Our Projects

Our projects focus on Africa’s critical health issues, including: maternal, newborn and child health; HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other infectious diseases; access to water and sanitation; and the shortage of trained African health workers.


Prevention, Management and Control of Non Communicable Diseases

Funder: GSK

Goal: to enhance prevention, management and control of non-communicable diseases (obesity, hypertension and diabetes) at the community and health facility levels in Gauteng and Limpopo provinces in South Africa


Re-engineering Primary Health Care – Improving Access to and Quality of Maternal and Child Health Services

Funder: European Union Delegation in South Africa
Goal: Increase access to and the use of health care services for maternal, newborn and child health in the Vhembe and Sekhukhune districts of Limpopo Province.

Our Achievements

Reduced HIV transmission and maternal mortality in Umkhanyakude District between 2011 and 2013 through training of Traditional Health Practitioners. 60% of South Africans visit Traditional Health Practitioners before formal health facilities.

Results included:

o HIV transmission rate fell from 8% to 3%.
o Maternal mortality rate reduced to 68 deaths per 1,000 live births with one hospital reporting zero maternal deaths
o Reduction in preventable and treatable diseases among men, women and children
o Increase in recognition of Traditional Health Practitioners by the South Africa Ministry of Health, including further integration into the formal health system

Reduced common childhood illnesses and mortality of children under the age of five in Sekhukhune District of Limpopo between 2008 and 2011.

Results included:

o Decreased the incidence of diarrhoea from 54 per 1,000 to 38 per 1,000
o Decreased the incidence of pneumonia from 59 per 1,000 to 23 per 1,000

Increased access to youth-friendly health services in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal between 2010 and 2012.

o The number of health clinics providing youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services increased from 0 to 5
o The number of schools offering sexual and reproductive health activities and education increased from 0 to 8.
o The uptake of contraception services by sexually active adolescents increased from 5% to 31%.
o The proportion of HIV+ adolescents receiving anti-retroviral treatment increased from 7% to 45%.

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Amref Health Africa 2015 Global Report
January 17, 2018