Community Engagement and Pharmacy team up to bring health development to rural areas

PhD Pharmacy student Theodore Orlando Duxbury engages the community
PhD Pharmacy student Theodore Orlando Duxbury engages the community

The Rhodes University Faculty of Pharmacy and the Community Engagement Division (RUCE) have partnered up to holistically address the health challenges in Makhanda and the surrounding communities.

“It is time to consider not only the aspects of medical care but also its social determinants,” said PhD Pharmacy student Theodore Orlando Duxbury, who is running the project.

He continued, “These are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age - the fundamental drivers of the growing global burden of disease. This serves as the ideal foundation from which a productive collaboration could stem. Collaborations across higher-education departments such as these, not only promote health and social change, it also moulds socially responsible and active healthcare practitioners and citizens.”

According to Duxbury, the neighbouring Amakhala communities have inadequate health coverage, which is exacerbated by persisting socio-historical and economic barriers to rural health development. The objective of his work is therefore, to promote the integration of engaged research concepts, epistemic justice, health promotion and health literacy in developing rural health within a South African context.

Together, these two departments have attended international conferences, obtained the support of the National Research Foundation, the Southern African Systems Analysis Centre and have published a book chapter (

“This is a true testament of what can be achieved when two higher-education departments collaborate to achieve a strategic objective,” said Di Hornby, Director of RUCE.

Duxbury is supervised by Dr Sharli Paphitis, Prof Roman Tandlich and Dr Joana Bezerra.