In 2019, HIGHER HEALTH emerged from the Higher Education and Training HIV and AIDS Programme (HEAIDS), which was established in early 2000s by the then Department of Education and international development partners in order to reduce the impact of HIV/TB on higher education. Prevention of HIV/TB and effective treatment for students living with HIV/TB was a central feature of HEAIDS programme and remains one of the seven core focus areas of HIGHER HEALTH. Since 2014, the organisation has diversified its programme to take account of a range of health, wellness and developmental challenges that confront students and to promote wellness in a more holistic manner.
Sexual and gender-based violence (GBV), mental health, disability and unplanned pregnancies affect their institutions and warrant prevention, care and support interventions.In addition, while the original programme catered purely to public universities, TVET colleges were brought on board in 2014 and every effort has been made to close the gap between the sub-sectors in terms of health and wellness interventions. The biggest challenge within the TVET sector was the absence of health support services at their campuses. HIGHER HEALTH’s broader focus is reflected through the establishment of clinics that deliver primary healthcare services at TVET campuses while strengthening infrastructure for clinical services at universities.
Until September 2017, HEAIDS was managed on behalf of the Department of Higher Education and Training by Universities South Africa (USAf). However, with the inclusion of TVETs, the diversification of funding sources, and the expansion of staff and activities, the establishment of HEAIDS as a standalone non-profit company with a new name, the Higher Education and Training Health, Wellness and Development Centre – or HIGHER HEALTH, for short – came into being.See more