Healthcare UTilisation and Seroprevalence Survey

Epicentre News • 11 March 2021

We are studying how COVID is impacting South Africans! HUTS is a Healthcare UTilisation and Seroprevalence Survey that aims to find out more about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa.

The study is being done by Genesis Analytics and Epicentre with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

HUTS Is Coming Back

The HUTS Study is returning to Mitchell’s Plain and to Edendale in January and February 2022. We will be visiting the same households in Pietermaritzburg and MP as the original HUTS study. We will be collecting samples from approximately 4800 preselected households as well as samples from 1000 random participants.

The Early Finding Are Out

The preliminary (very early) results from the HUTS study are out! They suggest that:

  • COVID-19’s prevalence (amount of people who’ve had COVID-19 now and in the past) increased over the study period
  • By January 2021 it is estimated (a scientifically supported prediction) that the prevalence was more than or equal to 30% in Klerksdorp, Edendale (part of Pietermaritzburg), and Mitchells Plain.
  • This data suggests that there has been a substantial increase in COVID-19 prevalence during the second COVID-19 wave in comparison to the first wave.
  • In addition, the preliminary results show no statistically significant differences in COVID-19 prevalence between different group – by age, sex and HIV status.
  • There is also evidence that HIV prevalence went up during this period.

Where Are We Visiting?


Mitchelles Plain


What Do We Hope to Achieve?

COVID-19 is a new disease that has affected the lives of all South Africans. There is still a lot to learn about COVID-19 and how it has affected communities. Our primary aim is to:

  • If there are community members who may have had COVID-19 but did not feel sick or could not get to health services.

  • The costs that individuals or households have had to face due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • What is known about COVID-19,
  • The attitudes and practices (KAP) in response to COVID-19 in the selected communities.

Why Is This Study Important

This information is important to guide in planning and decision-making for preventing future COVID-19 waves in South Africa, and to help ensure that health facilities are available to those who need it.

How Can You Help?

We will be using maps of the area, and house locations which have been randomly selected for participation in three districts. Everyone who has lived in that house since the 1stof March 2020 can participate in HUTS.

We need people to be on the look out for the Epicentre brand so when they see us it is not the first time they’ve heard about us. We need every South Africans support to beat COVID-19 and this is one easy way you can help us achieve that goal!

So tell your friends and family to tell everyone that:

  • Epicentre is knocking on people’s doors
  • and asking them for a small finger prick and to answer some important questions about COVID-19
  • They should say YES to helping us because they are directly helping all South Africans beat COVID-19!

Why Was Epicentre Chosen

Epicentre has been conducting data collection successfully for researchers for 20 years. But what sets us apart from other data collectors is our extremely low participant refusal rate and our happiness to embrace new technology and innovation.

Our surveys are informing national policy on disease in Southern Africa such as

  • South Africa’s National Strategic plan for HIV, TB and STIs 2017-2022&

& Informing international public health responses by

  • the Centre for Disease Control (CDC),
  • the World Health Organization (WHO),
  • & President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)