South African Population Research
Infrastructure Network

About Us

  • The South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN) is a  major new long term investment into a national research infrastructure funded by the national Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and hosted by the SAMRC that will afford the opportunity to:

    • Draw together and harmonise all three of South Africa’s existing health and demographic surveillance sites (HDSS)
    • Lead the effort of developing new national infrastructures that are deliberately sited in urban settings.


SAPRIN is governed by a Steering Committee which has oversight of the NRI budgets, spending and the focuses of the scientific work, as well as ensuring the quality and safety of research activities undertaken by SAPRIN.

Steering Committee

  • Chair: Prof Jeffrey Mphahlele, SAMRC Vice President
  • Nodal Directors:
    • Prof Steve Tollman. Director Agincourt  MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit
    • Dr Eric Maimela, Director DIMAMO HDSS, University of Limpopo
    • Prof Willem Hanekom, Director Africa Health Research Unit (AHRI)
  • University Deputy Vice-Chancellors Research:
    • University of Witwatersrand: Prof Zeblon Vilakazi.
    • University of Limpopo: Prof Jesika Singh
    • University of KwaZulu-Natal: Prof Deresh Ramjugernath
  • SAPRIN Management Hub
    • Director: Dr Kobus Herbst
    • Co-Director: Prof Mark Collinson


SAPRIN is managed by a small management hub currently based at the SAMRC Durban office and at the SAMRC office at the University of Johannesburg.

The management staff complement is as follows:

Director - Dr Kobus Herbst

Dr Kobus HerbstDr Kobus Herbst is a public health specialist. In the early 1990s, he contributed to the establishment of the post-apartheid health system through the development and implementation of ReHMIS (Regional Health Management Information System), the first computerised public health care facility inventory in South Africa. Kobus was the Deputy Director of the Africa Centre and led its demographic surveillance programme. He is a member of the Africa Health Research Institute Faculty and the principal investigator of its Population Intervention Programme. He played a leading role in developing the INDEPTH Network’s Data Repository currently sharing data from 29 INDEPTH sites.

Co-Director - Prof Mark Collinson

Prof Mark CollinsonAssociate Professor Mark A. Collinson is Co-Director of the DSI/MRC South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN), a national research infrastructure that has harmonised the core data from all three of South Africa’s Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS) and is developing new interconnected HDSS nodes in multiple urban settings. His role includes ensuring that the longitudinal population data is used as a national resource in research, training and policy development.

He is a Reader in Population and Public Health at the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand. He was co-instrumental in establishing the MRC/Wits Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System in rural Mpumalanga in 1992, and has led the INDEPTH Migration, Urbanisation and Health Working Group since 2003. He is principal investigator of a multi-country project called the Multi-Centre Analysis of the Dynamics of Internal Migration and Health (MADIMAH). He is co-PI of a five-year NIH award called “Migrant Health Follow-Up Study”, which follows rural internal migrants to keep track of their health and economic outcomes.

Data Scientist - Dr Taurayi Mudzana

Dr Taurayi MudzanaDr Taurayi Mudzana is a Data Analytics specialist. With deep expertise in various data platforms and data analytics technologies; he has been architecting, developing and managing data driven solutions since the early 2000s. Taurayi holds a PhD (Information Systems) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His role at the SAPRIN includes; quality assurance of contributed core data elements, storage and management of the core data elements on the SAPRIN cloud-infrastructure, production of longitudinal harmonised datasets and managing the SAPRIN Data Repository. Taurayi’s research interests are focused on a) the role of data and analytics in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and b) general issues around Information Systems.

Research Operations Manager - Mr Tinofa Mutevedzi

Mr Tinofa MutevedziTinofa Mutevedzi is the Research Operations Manager for SAPRIN. He is trained demographer with interests in population health, a health research ethicist and a research operations management expert passionate about and has over 23 years’ experience in developing and designing systems for data collection, processing and quality assurance and control for studies ranging from longitudinal Health Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS), large population-based observational surveys, interventions studies to clinical trials, and has interests in health research ethics.

In SAPRIN, Tinofa Mutevedzi is responsible for leadership and strategy for research operations, overseeing the strategic direction, harmonization, quality assurance and effective functioning of the common Health and Demographic Surveillance Sites (HDSS) research infrastructure platform across all HDSS Nodes. His role includes designing data collection systems, ethical frameworks and standards, quality assurance system, developing and evaluating the budgets for HDSS Nodes, facilitating and coordinating implementation of multi-nodal research studies through working with multi-nodal studies’ Principal Investigators and HDSS Node leaders to optimise study design, costing, staffing and ethical frameworks, as well as developing a community engagement strategy to ensure existence of a standards and activities for engaging research communities within the HDSS Nodes.

Tinofa Mutevedzi previously worked at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), KwaZulu-Natal, from 2003 to 2017 as Head of the Population Research Department. Before that, he worked as Clinical Trials Programme Coordinator for UZ-UCSF Research Programme (1999-2003) and Research Manager for the Manicaland HIV Prevention Project under the Biomedical Research and Training Institute (1996-1999), in Zimbabwe. He has co-authored more than 25 peer-reviewed journal articles around population health, HIV and bioethics.

Senior Officer – Nosicelo Mchiza

Nosicelo MchizaNosicelo Mchiza is a senior officer responsible for Admin at SAPRIN. She has a B Comm (Honours) degree in Industrial and Organisational Psychology from University of South Africa (UNISA).