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 Prof. Helen Schneider

Position: Professor
Department: School of Public Health
Faculty: Faculty of Community and Health
Qualifications: MBChB (Cape Town), MMed (Witwatersrand), DCH (SA College of Medicine), DTMH (Witwatersrand)
Tel: +27 21 959 3563
Fax: + 27 21 959 2872
Twitter: @schneider_helen


 Helen Schneider is a public health specialist and health systems and policy researcher who has worked for more than 25 years on the problematics of South Africa’s health system. She joined the SOPH in 2011 and assumed the Directorship in 2013. Since 2015 she is also the Director of the UWC/MRC Health Services to Systems Research Unit, and was recently awarded a SARChI Chair in Health Systems Governance. She started her career as a trainer of primary health care nurses in rural Limpopo in the mid-1980s and went on to train as a public health specialist at Wits University. She was based there until 2007, working mainly at the Centre for Health Policy which she directed for eight years.  Helen has been a long-standing active participant in, and commentator on, health policy in South Africa and has served on, amongst others, the board of the Medical Research Council, the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) and the Department of Health’s Task Team on Primary Health Care Re-engineering. Her research and policy interests included in the past an understanding of the political dynamics of AIDS policy under the Mbeki government and the health system-wide implications of programmatic interventions such as ARV scale-up. More recently, her research interests have shifted towards documenting policy implementation processes and strategies to formalise and integrate lay work and community-based care and support initiatives into primary health care.  This feeds into a new agenda of work linked to her South African Research Chair in Health Systems Governance.


​Recent publications

Journal articles

Sheikh K, Schneider H, Agyepong I, Lehmann U, Gilson L. Boundary-spanning: reflections of the practices and principles of Global Health. BMJ Global Health. 2016;e000058.

Charalambous S, Grant AD, Churchyard GJ, Mukora R, Schneider H, Fielding KL. Clinic-level factors influencing patient outcomes on antiretroviral therapy in primary health clinics in South Africa. AIDS. 2016; 30(7):1099-109.

Mlotshwa L, Harris B, Schneider H, Moshabela M. Exploring the perceptions and experiences of community health workers using role identity theory. Global Health Action. 2015;8(1):1–9.

Schneider H, Schaay N, Dudley L, Goliath C, Qukula, T. The challenges of reshaping disease specific and care oriented community based services towards comprehensive goals: A situation appraisal in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. BMC Health Services Research. 2015; 15(1)

Schneider H, English R, Tabana H, Padayachee T and Orgill M. Whole-system change: case study of factors facilitating early implementation of a primary health care reform in a South African province. BMC Health Services Research. 2014; 14 (1):609.

Gilson L, Orgill M, Schneider H. Practice and power: a review and interpretive synthesis focused on the exercise of discretionary power in policy implementation by front line providers and managers. Health Policy and Planning. 2014; 29 Suppl 3:iii51-iii69.

Erasmus E, Orgill MS, Schneider H, Gilson L. Mapping the existing body of health policy implementation research in lower income settings: what is covered and what are the gaps? Health Policy and Planning. 2014; 29 Suppl 3:: iii35-iii50.

Van Pletzen E, Moshabela M, Zulliger R, Schneider H. The size, characteristics and partnership networks of the health-related non-profit sector in three regions of South Africa: implications of changing primary health care policy for community-based care. Health Policy & Planning. 2014; 29(6):742-52.

Padayachee T, Chetty N, Matse M, Mampe T, Schneider H.  Progress in the establishment of Ward Based Outreach Teams: Experiences in the North-West Province. In: Padarath A, English R (eds). South African Health Review 2013/14. Durban: Health Systems Trust, 2014.

Silal S, Penn-Kekana L, Barnighausen T, Schneider H. Local level inequalities in the use of hospital-based maternal delivery in rural South Africa. Globalization and Health. 2014; 10:60.

Zulliger R, Moshabela M, Schneider H. “She is my teacher and if it was not for her I would be dead”: Exploration of rural South African community health workers' information, education and communication activities. AIDS Care. 2014; 26 (5):626-632.

Sips I, Mazanderani AH, Schneider H, Greef M, Barten F, Moshabela M. Community care workers, poor referral networks and consumption of personal resources in rural South Africa. PLOS One. 2014; 9(4):e95324 Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095324

Moshabela M, Gitomer S, Qhibi B, Schneider H. Development of non-profit organisations providing health and social services in rural South Africa: a three-year longitudinal study. PLOS One. 2013; 8(12):e83861. Doi: 10.371/journal.pone.0083861

Leon N, Daviaud E, Schneider H. Applying a framework for assessing the health system challenges to scaling up mHealth in South Africa. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 2012, 12:123.

Meyers, T, Dramowski A, Schneider H, Gardiner N, Kuhn L, Moore D. Changes in Pediatric HIV-Related Hospital Admissions and Mortality in Soweto, South Africa, 1996-2011: Light at the End of the Tunnel? J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2012; 60(5): 503-510.

Moshabela M, Schneider H, Silal SP, Cleary SM. Factors associated with patterns of plural healthcare utilization among patients taking antiretroviral therapy in rural and urban South Africa: a cross-sectional study. BMC Health Serv Res. 2012; 2;12(1):182.

Schneider H, Govender V, Harris B, Cleary S, Moshabela M & Birch S. Gender differences in experiences of ART services in South Africa: a mixed methods study. Tropical Medicine and International Health. 2012; 17(7): 820-826.

Cleary SM, Birch S, Moshabela M, Schneider H. Unequal access to ART: exploratory results from rural and urban case studies of ART use. Sex Transm Infect. 2012; 88(2):141-6.

London L, Schneider H. Globalisation and health inequalities: Can a human rights paradigm create space for civil society action? Soc Sci Med. 2012; 74(1):6-13.

Naledi, T, Barron, P and Schneider H. A new vision for primary health care in South Africa: What are the implications? South African Health Review 2011. Durban: Health Systems Trust, 2011.

Moshabela M, Schneider H, Cleary S, Pronyk P, Eyles J. Does patients’ accessibility to antiretroviral care improve after down-referral from hospitals to health centres in rural South Africa? African Journal of AIDS Research. 2011; 10(4), 393-401.

Moshabela M, Pronyk P, Williams N, Schneider H, Lurie M. Patterns and implications of medical pluralism among HIV/AIDS patients in rural South Africa. AIDS Behav. 2011; 15(4):842-52.

Cleary S, Silal S, Birch S, Carrara H, Pillay-van Wyk V, Rehle R, Schneider H. Equity in the use of antiretroviral treatment in the public health care system in urban South Africa. Health Policy. 2011; 99(3):261-6. 

Peer reviewed book chapters

Levendal E, English R, Schneider H, London L, Haricharan, H. Health Governance. In: Matsoso P, Fryatt R, Andrews G(eds). The South African Health Reforms 2009-2014: Moving Towards Universal Health Coverage. Pretoria: Juta Academic; 2015.

Schneider H. Health Systems Research. Chapter 26 In: Ehrlich R and Joubert G (eds) Epidemiology: A research manual for South Africa 3rd edition. Oxford University Press; 2014. 

Book Review

Schneider H. Book review: Rohleder P, Swartz L, Kalichman SC, Simbayi  LC (Eds). HIV/AIDS in South Africa 25 years on: Psycho-social Perspectives. AIDS Care. 2011 23(4): 521-522

Technical reports

McKenzie A, Schneider H, Schaay N, Scott V, Sanders D. Primary Care Systems Profiles & Performance (PRIMASYS): South Africa Case Study. Technical Report for the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, Geneva. March 2016.

Schneider H, Tabana H, Orgill M, Padayachee T, English R, Chetty N, Nkosi B. Evaluation of early implementation of Ward Based PHC Outreach Teams in the North West Province. Research Report. 2013. Cape Town: UWC/HST.

Schneider H, et al. Policy Review & Development of a Framework for Home and Community Based (HCBC) Services delivered by the Western Cape Department of Health. Technical Report. 2013. Cape Town: UWC/UCT/US

Leon N & Schneider H. MHealth4CBS in South Africa. A review of the role of mobile phone technology for monitoring and evaluation of community based health services. Cape Town: Medical Research Council and University of the Western Cape, 2012.

Nkosi B, Schneider H, Lehmann U and Morrell P. Annotated bibliography of literature on community health workers  in low- and middle-income countries: 1996-2011. Cape Town, School of Public Health UWC, 2012.

Schneider H, et al. Community Based Services Support Project: Policy Review of De-hospitalised Care Services.  Technical Report for the Western Cape Department of Health.  Cape Town, School of Public Health, 2012.



 Member of review panel: Research grant applications on hypertension in developing countries for the UK MRC Board member: Health-e (health communication organization)

Project leader: provided technical support on the development of M&E systems for the PHC outreach teams, National Department of Health, Pretoria.

Project leader (with Nikki Schaay, Steve Reid, Lilian Dudley, Charlyn Goliath, Theresa Lorenzo, Soraya Maart Emmanuelle Daviaud): undertook a policy review of “intermediate care” services/ de-hospitalized care services for the Western Cape Department of Health - to give effect to the  re-conceptualization of this component of community-based services, with the objective of developing policy guidelines on the package, organization, staffing and monitoring of intermediate care in the Western Cape.

Project leader (with Nikki Schaay, Steve Reid, Lilian Dudley, Charlyn Goliath): undertook a policy review of home and community-based care, Western Cape Department of Health- to describe and analyze current policy, thinking and provision of HCBC in both rural and urban areas of the Western Cape, and propose a future framework for the re-organisation of HCBC in line with the vision and principles outlined in Healthcare 2020.

Reviewer: Health Policy & Planning
Reviewer: Human Resources for Health
Reviewer: Lancet Infectious Diseases
Reviewer: Social Science and Medicine
External examiner: MPH dissertation, Health Economics,
University of Cape Town.
Rated as a C1 researcher by the NRF (National Research Foundation) in January 2012

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