About us

Population and Health is a research focus area (RFA) housed in the Faculty of Humanities.  The mission of the Population and Health research focus area (RFA) is to train world-class social scientists (population experts, development experts, psychologists, social workers and sociologists under the broad umbrella of population and health) and to produce high-quality research, relevant to South Africa’s socio-economic and cultural development in particular, and that of sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.

The strategic aim of the RFA is to provide research-based evidence about population changes in South Africa.  More specifically, research in the entity aims to contribute to the following public projects in South Africa:

  • Investigate the health and demographic dimensions of families and households.
  • Facilitate policy development and implementation in relevant spheres. 

The multidisciplinary nature of the research focus in the RFA facilitates research collaboration between interested researchers across all faculties at the NWU. This RFA is devoted to the discovery of new knowledge and forms of expression through significant innovative research, analysis and synthesis of existing knowledge. The entity accomplishes its research and postgraduate studies mandate by building on existing programme strategies, fostering effective, cross-disciplinary research approaches, and by contributing to finding solutions to the socio-economic and cultural challenges facing North West in particular and South Africa as a whole.

The RFA attracts and retains well-qualified and experienced researchers in the field of population and health research in South Africa.  The RFA also provides excellent postgraduate supervision and inspirational leadership for students interested in the fields of population and health research. 

The directorate of the RFA: Population and Health (Mahikeng Campus)

The RFA is headed by Professor AY Amoateng, who is a research professor of Sociology and Family Studies. Professor Amoateng has taught at many universities in South Africa, including the Walter Sisulu University, and the universities of North-West, the Western Cape and Johannesburg. He was a director of research at the HSRC between 2002 and 2008 and briefly worked as a deputy national coordinator for Ghana’s school-feeding programme. Professor Amoateng has consulted for such multilateral organisations as the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the World Health Organization and the World Scout Bureau. Professor Amoateng has published widely in high-impact national and international journals and is the author of several chapters in books/monographs. In 2014 he received an award for excellence in teaching and learning for being the most productive senior researcher in the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences at the NWU. Professor Amoateng is a National Research Foundation-rated scientist (C2).

The entity has three (3) subprogrammes, namely HIV/AIDS, headed by Professor ES Idemudia, a clinical psychologist; Families and Households, headed by Professor N Ayiga, a demographer; and Poverty Studies, headed by Professor ME Palamuleni, a demographer.