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An Evaluation of the Health System Costs of Mental Health Services and Programmes in South Africa Uncategorized

REPORT: Health System Costs of Mental Health Services and…

The Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH), together with the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), announce the release of the full technical report of the Evaluation of the Health System Costs of Mental Health Services and Programmes in South Africa (2016/17 FY); and the accompanying open-access publication: Mental health system costs, resources and constraints in South Africa: a national survey.

Responding to some of South Africa’s biggest information gaps related to our mental health system, for the first time, this study offers a nationally representative reflection of the state of mental health spending and elucidates inefficiencies and constraints emanating from existing mental health investments in South Africa; achieving one of the highest sample sizes of any costing study conducted for mental health in LMICs. 

This research endeavor was a joint effort of the National Department of Health (NDOH), the Provincial Departments of Health, the SAMRC and the Alan J Flisher Center for Public Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa. The research was conducted by Sumaiyah Docrat1, Donela Besada and Prof Crick Lund.

Information presented in this report is based on best available data derived from primary and secondary sources. Discrepancies between different sources reflect the current quality of mental health systems data.
All data should therefore be interpreted carefully and with recognition of potential inaccuracy.

Following the completion of this first phase of work, technical support from the authors has been requested to develop a mental health investment case. We are now in a position to explore the mechanisms by which our country and Provinces can accelerate our progress towards the achievement of the National Mental Health Policy Framework and Strategic Plan (2013-2020) and take forward the prescribed recommendations of the South African Human Rights Commission Report on the State of Mental Health Care in South Africa in the context of the recent passing of the NHI Bill.  This investment case will involve intensive and ongoing dialogue with Provincial and National structures, the recently enacted Mental Health Think Tank, the Ministerial Task Team for Mental Health and a range of stakeholders involved in the provision of mental health services and research across the country.   The goal is to provide empirical evidence on the costs and benefits of investing in mental health based on the existing constraints identified in our mental health system, the most cost-effective mix of interventions to address these constraints, and the broader health-sector transformations that are ongoing in the country, over the next 20 years. Completion of the Investment Case is anticipated by October 2020.

The information contained in this publication may be freely distributed and reproduced, provided that the source is acknowledged.

Suggested citation for this report
Docrat, S., Besada, D., Lund, C. 2019. An Evaluation of the Health System Costs of Mental Health Services and Programmes in South Africa. Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, University of Cape Town.

Suggested citation for the accompanying open-access publication
Docrat, S., Besada, D., Cleary, S., Daviaud, E., Lund, C. 2019. Mental health system costs, resources and constraints in South Africa: a national survey. Health Policy and Planning. Advance article. Available at:

1S.D. is a staff member of the University of Cape Town and is supported by the South African Medical Research Council through its Division of Research Capacity Development under the SAMRC National Health Scholars Programme from funding received from the South African National Treasury. The authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this publication and they do not necessarily represent the decisions, policy or views of the University of Cape Town, the South African Medical Research Council or the funders. 

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New Vacancy: Senior Lecturer

The Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health is seeking to appoint a part-time (20 hours per week) Senior Lecturer to support the MPhil in Public Mental Health, and to conduct other postgraduate supervision in the Centre. The MPhil students attend coursework in research methodology for 3 weeks in January-February each year, after which they return to their home countries to conduct their research under supervision. This will be a 3-year fixed term contract.


  • A PhD degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. psychology, public health, social science).
  • Skilled in both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
  • At least 3 years of experience working in public health or mental health research in low resource settings.
  • Experience of student teaching and supervision at Masters level.
  • Evidence of a publication record in peer-reviewed academic journals.

Experience in supervising at a PhD level would be an advantage.


  • Coordinate the annual recruitment and selection of students for the MPhil in Public Mental Health.
  • Coordinate the teaching for the coursework component of the MPhil programme
  • Distance supervision and support for students in the MPhil programme in their home countries, including providing oversight of protocol development, literature reviews, data collection, analysis and write-up for publication.
  • Supervision of Doctoral students
  • Facilitating collegial relations and team building both at UCT and internationally.

The annual remuneration package, including benefits, is negotiable between R289 509 and R417 359 (50% FTE).

Click here to download the full job description.

To apply, please forward the below documents in a single pdf file to Ms Vathiswa Mbangi at
– UCT Application Form (download at
– Cover letter and Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Please ensure the title and reference number are indicated in the subject line.

An application which does not comply with the above requirements will be regarded as incomplete.

Telephone: 021 650 3003
Reference number: E19236
Closing date: 05 July 2019

UCT is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity and redress. Our Employment Equity Policy is available at

For this post we seek particularly to attract Black (i.e. African, Coloured and Indian) South African candidates.

UCT reserves the right not to appoint.