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 Ms. Nikki Schaay

Position: Researcher
Department: School of Public Health
Faculty: Faculty of Community and Health
Qualifications: BA (Hons) Psychology (UN), MPH (UWC)
Tel: 021-959 2809
Fax: + 27 21 959 2872
Twitter - @NikkiSchaay


 Ms Nikki Schaay is a Senior Researcher at the School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape. Nikki contributes to SOPH’s teaching activities by convening one of core modules of the MPH programme: ‘Population Health and Development: A Comprehensive Primary Health Care Approach’ and facilitating a course on community participation. 

Prior to joining the School in 2004, Nikki worked in the field of HIV - first managing a local non-governmental organization which was one of the first community based organisations in South Africa to support a cadre of grassroots HIV educators; then coordinating a provincial HIV advocacy network, and later directing a national project which provided technical assistance to the National Department of Health, specifically in relation to HIV multi-sectoral capacity building and policy development.

Over the past ten years Nikki has also done short-term consultancy work in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).  These have ranged from end of project evaluations of community-based HIV prevention and care projects in Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, India, Nepal and Vietnam for the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) to the facilitation, pilot-testing and development of an index to measure HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, developed in collaboration with UNAIDS, the Global Network of People living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+) and the International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) and the development of a series of case studies related to PMTCT for the Interagency Working Group on SRH & HIV Linkages.

Nikki has worked as a researcher on the following initiatives:
2015 - 2016: Primary Care Systems Profiles & Performance (PRIMASYS): South Africa Case Study for the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. PI: Prof Helen Schneider (UWC)

2010-2016: District Innovation and Action Learning for Health Systems (DIALHS): an action research project supporting district health system development in South Africa. Co-PI: Prof Uta Lehmann (UCT) and Prof Lucy Gilson (UCT)

2015: Emerging Opportunities in e-learning: a project focusing on curriculum design and the process of transitioning from face - face to distance teaching and learning in the post-graduate public health field. PI: Prof Helen Schneider (UWC)

2011-2013: Evaluation and Policy Review of the Intermediate Care and Community Based Services for the Western Cape Department of Health, South Africa. PI: Prof Helen Schneider (UWC)

2007-2011: Revitalizing Health for All: Towards Comprehensive Primary Health Care (RHFA): an international project to build the evidence base and enhancing local research capacity. Co-PI: Prof David Sanders (UWC) and Prof Ron Labonte (Univ of Ottawa)



Peer reviewed journal articles

Re-imagining community participation at the district level: lessons from the DIALHS collaboration. Susan Cleary, Nikki Schaay; Elizabeth Botes, Ntomizanele Figlan, Uta Lehman and Lucy Gilson. In: Padarath A, King J, English R, editors. South African Health Review 2014/15. Durban: Health Systems Trust; 2015.

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. Helen Schneider • Nikki Schaay • Lilian Dudley • Charlyn Goliath • Tobeka Qukula BMC Health Services Research 2015; 15(1) Doi: 10.1186/s12913-015-1109-4

Exploring the nature of governance at the level of implementation for health system strengthening: the DIALHS experience. Vera Scott, Nikki Schaay, Patti Olckers, Nomsa Nqana, Uta Lehmann and Lucy Gilson. Health Policy and Planning 2014; 29:ii59–ii70 doi:10.1093/heapol/czu073.

Is the Alma Ata vision of comprehensive primary health care viable? Findings from an international project.Ronald Labonte, David Sanders, Corinne Packer and Nikki Schaay. Glob Health Action 2014, 7: 24997 -

Improving the counselling skills of lay counsellors in antiretroviral adherence settings: a cluster Randomised Controlled Trial in the Western Cape, South Africa. Dewing S, Mathews C, Schaay N, Cloete A, Simbayi L, Louw  J. AIDS Behav. 2014 Apr 26; Epub 2014 Apr 26.

Lay counselors' ability to deliver counseling for behavior change. Dewing S, Mathews C, Cloete A, Schaay N, Simbayi L, Louw J.  J Consult Clin Psychol. 2014 Feb; 82(1):19-29. Epub 2013 Oct 7.

"It's important to take your medication everyday okay?" An evaluation of counselling by lay counsellors for ARV adherence support in the Western Cape, South Africa. Dewing S, Mathews C, Schaay N, Cloete A, Louw J, Simbayi L.  AIDS Behav. 2013 Jan; 17(1):203-12

From research to practice: lay adherence counsellors' fidelity to an evidence-based intervention for promoting adherence to antiretroviral treatment in the Western cape, South Africa. Dewing S, Mathews C, Cloete A, Schaay N, Shah M, Simbayi L, Louw J. AIDS Behav. 2013 Nov; 17(9):2935-45.

The role of health extension workers in improving utilization of maternal health services in rural areas in Ethiopia: a cross sectional study.  Medhanyie A, Spigt M, Kifle Y, Schaay N, Sanders D, Blanco R, GeertJan D, Berhane Y.  BMC Health Serv Res, 2012 Oct 8;12:352. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-12-352.

Community dimensions of Integral Primary Health Care.  Ronald Labonte, David Sanders, Corinne Packer and Nikki Schaay et al. Rev. Gerenc. Polit. Salud, Bogotá (Colombia), 8 (16): 14-29, enero-junio de 2009. DOI: 10.1590/S0103-11042012000300018

Implementation, effectiveness and political context of comprehensive primary health care: preliminary findings of a global literature review. Ronald Labonte et al. Australian Journal of Primary Health 2013, 14(3):58-67. DOI: 10.1071/PY08037

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, Schaay N, et al. 2013. 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: University of the Western Cape /University of Cape Town/University of Stellenbosch.

Schneider H, et al. Community Based Services Support Project: Policy Review of de-hospitalized care services.  Technical Report (June 2012) for the Director, Community-Based Services, Western Cape Department of Health. Cape Town: University of the Western Cape /University of Cape Town/University of Stellenbosch.

Schaay N, Sanders D, Kruger V & Olver C. (2011, December). Overview of Health Sector Reforms in South Africa. For Department of International Development (DFID), Human Development Resource Centre, London, UK.




 Member: Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA)
Member: People’s Health Movement, South Africa
Reviewer: Health Policy and Planning
Reviewer: Health Research Policy and Systems
External Examiner: Health Policy Module, MPhil in Health Service Research, University of Stellenbosch
External Examiner: Gender and Health Module, MPH. University of Cape Town

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