The South African People’s Health University (SAPHU) is the South African version of the International People’s Health University (IPHU). It is a training course for health activists on the Politics of Health.

In South Africa, the People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA) organises two different types of SAPHUs:

1. SAPHU Short Course

The SAPHU short course provides training on the politics of health in South Africa and covers a range of topics, among others: Social and Environmental Determinants of Health, Comprehensive Primary Health Care, Activism, National Health Insurance and Health Systems Strengthening. The faculty consists of a combination of activists and public health academics.

The course is aimed at health activists who wish to broaden their understanding of the South African health system and link their work to action on the “causes of the causes” of ill-health.

PHM-SA can also tailor a short course for your organisation focusing on a specific topic, for example on the National Health Insurance or a specific determinant of health.

For more information, contact us at

2. SAPHU Six-Month Programme

Since 2014, the South African People’s Health University (SAPHU) has focused on Community-Based Health Workers (CBHWs) as they form the backbone of health (and social) services, especially in poor communities. At present, in all nine provinces in South Africa, CBHWs are either volunteering or are employed under different, uncertain and tenuous conditions of service. There is an urgent need for improvement in their economic, legal and professional conditions of services, and to build on their competence in a comprehensive Primary Health Care national health system.

The aim of the SAPHU six-month programme is to strengthen the knowledge and skills of CBHWs in policy and political analysis, and in advocacy, mediation and various forms of activism. Examples are the development of a deeper analysis of social determinants of health (SDH) that are associated with the challenges faced by individuals, families and communities in improving their health; and the learning of skills such as planning, advocacy, mediation and conflict management that can be used in organisations and communities for developing appropriate strategies to achieve Health for All in the country. The SAPHU can be adapted for other (health) activist groups.

For additional information on SAPHU and community health workers, see the articles below or contact us at

Joining our SAPHU group:

Join our SAPHU group if you would like to receive notices sent by SMS or email. You can sign up by doing one of the following: