Research Units

Albertina & Walter Sisulu Institute of Ageing in Africa

About the IAA

The Albertina and Walter Sisulu Institute of Ageing in Africa (IAA) was established as a Cross-Disciplinary Group within the Department of Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town, South Africa on 1 April 2001. The Institute represents a coalescence of five specialist entities on ageing in the faculty: The division of Geriatric Medicine, the Neurosciences, Neuropsychology, Old Age Psychiatry, and Gerontology Programme.

The scientific merit of the establishment and operation of the IAA lies foremost in global population ageing and its implications, particularly in Africa and specifically in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Population ageing is accompanied by increasing longevity and age-associated morbidity, and creates a heightened demand for health services and social care. Demographic, social and economic forces in SSA countries, such as migration, urbanisation, political violence and conflict, chronic poverty, disease – in particular the HIV/AIDS epidemics are exacerbating older persons’ vulnerabilities and diminishing their capabilities. Older women are more vulnerable than older men to the effects of forces.

A critical need thus exists for scholarly activity to address the challenges and opportunities of ageing in sub-continent, to redress imbalances in race, gender and equity as a result of apartheid in South Africa’s older population. Hence, a critical mass of researchers, clinicians and educators must be grown and supported. The IAA therefore aims to build and strengthen capacity to generate knowledge, and to develop human capacity with which to respond proactively to the challenges of population ageing and to improve the quality of life of older people in South Africa and SSA.