First Things First

The heart of HIGHER HEALTH’s approach to health mobilisation, education and service delivery beats in the First Things First model.

A Real Difference

First Things First activations take place on all university and TVET college campuses and usually run for three to five days, every two months. They are organised by the institution in conjunction with healthcare partners, including the district health service and local NGOs.

Strong partnerships with the National Department of Health and other local and international organisations have allowed us to make a real difference in the lives of students at Universities, TVET Colleges and various other sites. 

First Things First Model

HIGHER HEALTH advocates the First Things First model. This model promotes that the first priority of every young South African or student is to look after their health. The vision of the programme is to build a culture where youths buy in to the concept that early detection saves lives.

This would mean that they regularly:

25-medical history

Screen and become educated in order to detect disease early.


Prioritise early detection through community or institution testing/care and support.

FTF Offerings

At First Things First events, we offer Counselling, Testing and Screening for:

  • HIV
  • TB
  • STI’s
  • Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
  • Mental Health
  • Sexual Reproductive Health
  • LGBTQIA+ and Human Rights
  • Blood Sugar (Diabetes)
  • Non-Communicable Diseases
  • Family Planning
  • Drug and Substance Abuse

This is where young people directly encounter the message that they need to put their health and wellbeing first in order to get the qualification they need to secure future opportunities. Some elements of the model are in place on virtually all campuses, others are in development, while a few elements are part of the future expansion of the model.

The delivery of the First Things First model rests on the establishment of a health-focused 2nd curriculum, the enrichment of the conventional curriculum, and utilisation of campus and social media.