Mapping South African public health research (1975 - 2014)

Brice Poreau


Background. Since 1994, South Africa (SA) has faced up to the challenge of building a strong economy, to which public health provides an important underpinning.

 Objectives. To map the scientific research in public health in SA after the end of apartheid and to present the links between the different financing/funding systems.

Methods. Bibliographic analyses utilising the Web of Science of papers published during the period 1975 - 2014, analyses of journals, most cited articles, authors, publication years, organisations, funding agencies, countries and keywords, and mapping of the relations between countries involved in public health research and of the Web of Science Categories using VOSviewer.

Results. I accessed 2 246 articles published between 1975 and 2014, the majority of which were published after 2007. The main countries of research were the USA, SA, Switzerland and the UK, representing the main network collaborations. The relevant keywords were HIV, woman, child, program/programme, rural, tuberculosis, district and sex.

Conclusions. Public health research in SA reached a high level 16 years after the end of apartheid. The chief field that emerged was the spread of HIV, including mother-to-child transmission, and the policies applied to all districts of SA, through a network of institutions between the USA and SA.

Author's affiliations

Brice Poreau, Institut Santé Publique – Relations Internationales (Public Health – International Studies Institute), Rue E Pons, 69004, Lyons, France

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South Africa; Public health; HIV; Woman; Social network analysis; Bibliometrics

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2015;105(1):52-55. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.8866

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-08-25
Date published: 2014-12-12

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