Specialist Scientist: Gender and Health Unit
Medical Research Council
Tel: +27 21 938 0445
Dr Naeemah Abrahams has a nursing background and a PhD in public health. She is a senior researcher with the Gender and Health Research Unit of the Medical Research Council based in Cape Town. Her research interests are gender-based violence and the public health responses to violence against women in South Africa. Her current work is on the interface between gender-based violence and HIV, with a focus on sexual assault services provided in healthcare settings. Abrahams does both quantitative and qualitative research using methods drawn from a range of disciplines: clinical, social science, ethnographic, epidemiological and health systems. She has a strong interest in the ethical issues around research into gender-based violence. She was involved in the first national femicide study in 2004, which led to increased awareness on the issue of women being killed by intimate partners and the role of guns in violence against women. She is also the co-facilitator of a training course on research methods for gender-based violence research and has presented this course in East Africa.
Academic Head: Department of Paediatrics
Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Tel: + 27 31 260 4345
Professor Miriam Adhikari is a registered neonatologist and has a special interest in paediatric nephrology. She received her medical degree from the University of Cape Town before training for a fellowship in paediatrics via the then University of Natal and the College of Medicine of SA. She obtained a doctoral degree on nephrotic syndrome in Indian and African children, highlighting the natural history and different responses to therapy in the two groups. As head of department for paediatrics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Adhikari is involved with a wide range of medical training and development, including working with governmental initiatives to improve service delivery of health at a provincial level. Adhikari has contributed to the development of some paediatric sub-specialities. She has focused on research, training in general paediatrics, neonatology, paediatric nephrology and service delivery and development. She is now focusing on improving the further development of general paediatricians, who she believes will have the greatest impact on the improvement of neonatal and child survival.
Netcare Breast Care Centre of Excellence
Tel: +27 11 480 5779
Dr Carol-Ann Benn is one of South Africa’s top breast-cancer experts. After working as a surgeon at Chris Hani Baragwanath for six years, she was asked in 1998 to head the breast clinic at Johannesburg Hospital. She subsequently established breast-care clinics at Chris Hani Baragwanath, Helen Joseph and Milpark hospitals. These offer counselling, telephonic advice and holistic health. The specialist breast unit at Helen Joseph is regarded as a top Gauteng health department unit that offers public sector patients access to holistic specialist care. In 2002 Benn established the Breast Health Foundation, which aims to educate patients and the medical community through forums and outreach programmes. A support group called Bosom Buddies is a spin-off of the foundation. Benn cites her career highlights as witnessing the ability of her patients to set up support groups for other patients, establishing the Breast Health Foundation and having world-class, onco-reconstructive centres in private and government hospitals. Benn regularly presents academic papers, teaches young doctors and has co-authored a book called Know Your Breast.
Deputy Director: Clinical HIV Research Unit
University of the Witwatersrand
Tel: + 27 11 276 8800
Dr Francesca Conradie was involved in setting up the antiretroviral programme at Helen Joseph Hospital, Johannesburg, in 2000. She now concentrates on research, but remains an active consultant for the clinic, which now treats about 11 000 patients. Her work at the Clinical HIV Research Unit (CHRU) is mainly funded by the United States government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH). The CHRU was the first NIH-approved Aids clinical trial unit outside of the US, and also does research on the use of novel anti-HIV drugs. Conradie is leading several research trials involving international collaborators, including one examining prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and another looking at HIV transmission patterns among sero-discordant couples where one person has HIV and the other does not. She received her medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, and has several postgraduate qualifications in epidemiology and infectious disease.
Professor: Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
University of Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 404 4488
Professor Lynette Denny is one of South Africa’s most renowned specialists in cervical cancer. She is a gynaecological oncologist and holds a full-time joint position as a principal specialist at Groote Schuur Hospital and a full professor at the University of Cape Town. She is the recipient of 15 awards for her work in cervical cancer prevention in developing countries and has done extensive work in integrating the management of sexual assault survivors. Denny became a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology in 1993 and is a fellow of the College of Obstetrics & Gynaecology of South Africa. In 2000 she earned her PhD in the evaluation of alternative strategies for the prevention of cervical cancer in low-resource settings. She has published more than 57 peer-reviewed articles, is a member of the executive council of the International Society of Gynaecological Cancer and is the secretary treasurer of the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer. In 2003 she was the first recipient of the SABC/Shoprite-Checkers Woman of the Year award in the category of science and technology, and in 2004 was awarded the Order of Disa by the provincial government.
Director: Médecins Sans Frontières South Africa
Tel: +27 11 403 4441
Sharon Ekambaram is the director of the South African office of international NGO Médecins Sans Frontières, which provides medical humanitarian aid and public health assistance around the world. Before joining MSF, Ekambaram was employed to set up the Chris Hani Institute, a think-tank located within Cosatu. Previously she was advocacy officer for the Aids Consortium, the main forum for NGOs working in the field of HIV/Aids, and spent some months as acting director of the organisation. Ekambaram has also worked for Oxfam, the South African National Development Agency and was one of the founders of the Gauteng branch of the Treatment Action Campaign. She has been on the boards of many NGOs and not-for-profit organisations and was involved in ANC activities under apartheid. She has extensive policy and research experience including work on development, women’s struggle and HIV/Aids, improving access to antiretroviral drugs and the basic income grant. She has a degree in English and economics from the University of South Africa.
Head: School of Public Health
University of the Witwatersrand
Tel: + 27 11 717 2543
Professor Sharon Fonn is head of the school of public health of the University of the Witwatersrand. Her most recent areas of work focus on improving access to and functioning of the public healthcare system with a focus on maternal health, HIV and chronic diseases. She has also worked extensively on cervical cancer and other reproductive health issues. Fonn is involved in strengthening research capacity in Africa through her involvement with the World Health Organisation and other international agencies and institutions. She co-leads a programme with a number of African partners to ensure the next generation of public health practitioners is committed to equity, including gender equity. She is a medical doctor, has a PhD in community health from the University of the Witwatersrand and diplomas in epidemiology and occupational health. In 2005 she was awarded the department of science and technology’s Distinguished Scientist Award for contributions to the quality of life of women.
Associate Professor: Department of Molecular Medicine and
Haematology, University of the Witwatersrand
National Health Laboratory Service
Tel: + 27 11 489 8540
Professor Debbie Glencross holds a joint appointment with the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology, University of the Witwatersrand, and the National Health Laboratory Service. She received her medical degree through Wits University before specialising as a haematologist. Glencross broke new ground in 2002 when she developed a cheap and highly accurate form of measuring CD4 cells in people with HIV. Her PanLeucogated CD4 T-cell enumeration technique (PLG CD4) dramatically cuts the costs of routine testing needed to monitor the progression of HIV and Aids. Regionally she has initiated training programmes in the use of this method of CD4 testing (www.plgCD4.net). She also established AFREQAS: the African Regional External Quality Assessment Scheme for CD4 laboratories, with more than 20 participating countries throughout Africa. Glencross has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers and is the recipient of a National Science and Technology award and a Gold National Productivity Institute award. She was a laureate for the International Technology Museum, US — JP Morgan-Chase Health award.
Senior Executive: South African Programmes,
Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication
Tel: +27 11 341 0360
Dr Sue Goldstein is a medical doctor who worked in primary healthcare in Alexandra and Soweto for 10 years before specialising in public health. She has a master’s degree from the University of the Witwatersrand. Goldstein worked as a community education manager at the Johannesburg city council until 1995, when she moved to the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication. She has co-authored a book on health promotion in South Africa and has taught health promotion and research as an honorary lecturer at Wits. In her current position, she focuses on the development of educational materials, and the monitoring and evaluation of health communication and of Soul City. Goldstein has vast experience in communication around HIV/Aids, having also worked on the government’s Beyond Awareness and Khomanani health education campaigns. Through the Soul Buddyz initiative she works on improving communication on health issues with children. She is an active member of the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network and a board member of the Gauteng Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa.
Director: Perinatal HIV Research Unit
University of the Witwatersrand
Tel: +27 11 989 9703
Professor Glenda Gray is a paediatrician and a co-director of Wits University’s Perinatal HIV Research Unit, based at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. In 1993 she began her research career investigating the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Her work has benefited HIV-positive pregnant women throughout sub-Saharan Africa by developing affordable interventions to protect babies from HIV infection during pregnancy, birth and early life. Gray’s contributions to this field were recognised in 2002 when she received the inaugural Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award, and again in 2003 when she received the Hero in Medicine Award from the International Association of Physicians in Aids Care. Gray has now turned her focus to HIV vaccine research and led the implementation of the first HIV vaccine clinical trials in South Africa. She is responsible for the clinical testing of potential HIV vaccines being developed by the South Africa Aids Vaccine Initiative. Gray is considered an expert in the field of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, HIV vaccine clinical trials and the management of HIV in children.
Clinical HIV Research Unit
Tel: +27 11 276 8800
Dr Prudence Ive is a specialist physician who completed her undergraduate and post-graduate training at Wits University. She obtained her diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene in 1997 (cum laude) and her HIV management diploma in 2004. She was medical director of the Themba Lethu HIV clinic at the Helen Joseph Hospital from 1996 until 2005 during which time thousands of patients were initiated on antiretroviral therapy and a strong relationship was built between the CHRU (Clinical HIV Research Unit of the Wits Health Consortium) and Themba Lethu clinic. Ive has worked for the CHRU since 2000 and holds the position of deputy director. She has been an investigator on the ACTG trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2005 and is site leader on the ACTG 5221 study, which is looking into HIV and tuberculosis co-infection. Ive was an investigator on the Cipra 1 grant funded by the NIH, comparing the effects of using nurses rather than doctors to give routine antiretroviral therapy. Within her teaching capacity she lectures and examines GEMP 4 medical students and gives tutorials to medical registrars at Wits.
Director: Gender and Health Research Unit
Medical Research Council
Tel: +27 12 339 8525
Professor Rachel Jewkes is the director of the Medical Research Council’s Gender and Health Research Unit and an honorary professor in the School of Public Health at Wits University. She trained as a medical doctor and completed specialist training in public health medicine in the United Kingdom, receiving both her master’s degree in community medicine and her medical degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Jewkes has spent the past 15 years researching gender and gender-based violence and their intersections with health in South Africa. She has authored more than 170 publications, including 75 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 18 book chapters. She has also written several training manuals. She is the secretary of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative, which is a global initiative seeking to promote research into sexual violence to use it in advocacy and prevention work. She is also a member of the steering committee of the World Health Organisation’s multi-country study on violence against women. She was the founder and is the secretary of the South African gender-based violence and health initiative.
Senior Researcher: Rural Aids and Development Action Research (Radar)
School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand
Tel: +27 21 433 2278
Dr Julia Kim is a physician and public health specialist who is based with the School of Public Health, Wits University, and the Health Policy Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK). She has served on numerous national and global task teams focusing on issues relating to reproductive health, gender-based violence and HIV/Aids. Published outputs have covered a range of issues including interventions to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in low-income settings, integrating reproductive health and HIV/Aids, HIV post-exposure prophylaxis, HIV clinical services and health systems development, strengthening research utilisation and addressing social determinants of health. Recent work has focused on the intersections between poverty, gender inequalities and HIV/Aids, including the Image Programme, which combines microfinance with gender/HIV training for rural women. As a musician, she is interested in exploring the interface between popular culture and public health, particularly the role of music and the arts as a medium for social change.
Consultant: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Tel: + 27 12 841 2206
Kelebohile Lekoape is a specialist in biosafety issues, and has an MSc in developmental molecular biology from the University of Warwick on top of her undergraduate degree in applied biological sciences. At the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research she is responsible for the risk assessment, monitoring and evaluation of genetically modified organisms in South Africa. She previously conducted a feasibility study for the creation of a biosafety and regulatory platform in South Africa. Lekoape returned to South Africa in 2004 after working at the World Health Organisation in Switzerland, working on issues around biotechnology, health and development. Prior to that she was regulatory manager at Monsanto South Africa. While working at the department of agriculture she was involved in the implementation of the Genetically Modified Organisms Act, 1997, and had worked for the South African Committee for Genetic Engineering.
Senior Executive: Social Mobilisation
Tel: +27 11 341 0360
Aadielah Maker has a master’s degree in community health from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. She is an activist by nature and was involved in student and youth politics, before moving into health and development in the early 1990s. She has worked in the fields of youth, sexual health and development for the past 15 years. Her Aids prevention work includes involvement in a campaign with Nelson Mandela, getting a major newspaper to include condoms in its publication and working on Soul Buddyz, one of the most popular South African children’s television programmes. Soul Buddyz clubs help children to take action in their own lives and communities. There are more than 4 830 clubs with about 55 550 members. Through a reality programme called Buddyz on the Move, the achievements of Soul Buddyz clubs are showcased on national television. Soul Buddyz drama and Buddyz on the Move have won international honours, including the Prix Jeunesse 2008 and awards from the Unicef Commonwealth Broadcasting Foundation.
Professor of Health Economics: Health Economics Unit, Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town.
South African Research Chair of ‘Health and Wealth’
Tel: + 27 21 406 6579
Professor Diane McIntyre has more than 20 years of professional experience in health economics and health policy issues. In 1990 she founded the Health Economics Unit, which is based in the Department of Public Health, University of Cape Town, and served as its director for 13 years. She has served on numerous policy committees and as chairperson of the Medicine Pricing Committee. She has extensive research, technical support and capacity development experience. Her particular research and technical support experience relates to alternative healthcare financing mechanisms (user fees and mandatory health insurance), resource allocation (needs-based formulae and fiscal federalism issues), public-private health sector mix challenges, and mechanisms for promoting health equity and health service access. McIntyre’s PhD was entitled Healthcare financing and expenditure in South Africa: Towards equity and efficiency in policy making. She has a keen interest in developing understanding of health economics and policy, and has produced training materials for the World Bank, as well as coordinating regional courses for Anglophone Africa.
Co-director: DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Research
Director: MRC/NHLS/WITS Molecular Mycobacteriology
Tel: + 27 11 489 9370
Professor Valerie Mizrahi is a leading researcher into tuberculosis. In addition to her positions at the Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit and the Centre for Excellence in Biomedical Research, she is also an international research scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (US) and a research professor at the School of Pathology at the University of the Witwatersrand. She gained a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Cape Town in 1983, then spent three years as a postgraduate fellow at Pennsylvania State University in the US. Mizrahi has received local and international recognition for her work into tuberculosis, the most recent being awarded the silver Order of the Mapungubwe by President Thabo Mbeki in 2007. She is on the advisory board of several international peer-review journals, and is an ad hoc reviewer for many more. She is in charge of five major multi-year research projects and is supervising several graduate students. She is a member of many local and international professional societies, and her scientific and managerial expertise is frequently in demand by local and international organisations.
Head: Aids Virus Research Unit, National Institute for
Tel: +27 11 386 6332
Professor Lynn Morris is a chief specialist scientist and head of the Aids Unit at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg and holds a joint appointment (associate professorship) at the University of the Witwatersrand. She completed her bachelor of science honours degree at Wits and obtained her PhD from the University of Oxford in 1988. She was then awarded a fellowship from the Royal Society UK for postdoctoral research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. In 1993 she returned to South Africa where she has made significant contributions to the understanding of local HI viruses, in part supported through a prestigious Wellcome Trust International Senior Research Fellowship. She has published more than 100 scientific papers and participates in many committees and discussions on HIV research. She supervises more than 15 master’s and PhD students. She chaired the 2nd South African Aids Conference and is the chairperson of the forthcoming international Aids Vaccine 2008 Conference in October.
Executive Director: Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit
University of the Witwatersrand
Tel: +27 11 358 5402
Professor Helen Rees has made an extraordinary contribution to the health and rights of South African and African women. She is internationally recognised for her medical and scientific expertise in the field of sexual and reproductive health and HIV/Aids. For the past six years she has been coordinating an effort in Johannesburg to develop a health precinct aimed at regenerating the inner city, alleviating poverty and addressing the problem of HIV. In 2007 Rees was appointed co-chairperson of the Programme Implementation Committee in the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) and also serves on the Sanac research sector sub-committee. In 2004 she became the first South African to be awarded the South African Distinguished Scientist Award for her outstanding Contribution to Improving the Quality of Life of South African Women. In 2003 she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award for her contribution to the health and rights of African women, by Amanitare, a pan-African partnership of NGOs. She was made an Officer of the British Empire in 2001 for her outstanding work in the South African and international health sectors.
Clinix Tshepo Themba Private Hospital
Tel: +27 11 983 0645
Dr SL Seape has spent most of her professional career in public health. A product of Waterford Kamhlaba School (now Waterford Kamhlaba World College) in Swaziland, she obtained her MBchB from Wits and did her internship at Chris Hani Baragwanath, joining the department of psychiatry at Wits as a registrar to begin specialising in psychiatry. While pursuing that goal she practised in, inter alia, Hillbrow Hospital, Tara Hospital and Sterkfontein Hospital. She also signed on with Community Psychiatry Services, working in community clinics from Carletonville/Khutsong in the west to Reiger Park in the east. She wrote the MMed exam at Wits and the Fellowship exam in psychiatry, FCPsych, with the College of Medicine of South Africa — and went straight back to Chris Hani Baragwanath, initially as a junior, rising to senior psychiatrist by the time she left, six years later, to return to Community Psychiatry Services as senior psychiatrist. In 2003 she was named principal psychiatrist at Sterkfontein. Throughout, from the time she began to specialise, she was also a lecturer at Wits. Seape entered private practice in 2006.
Hulda Shaidi Swai
Principal Research Scientist
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
Tel: +27 12 841 3638
Dr Hulda Swai is a principal research scientist at Polymers and Bioceramics at the CSIR. For the past two years she has worked on polymer encapsulation of living material such as bacteria, cells, vitamins and vaccines. She is a principal investigator in the development of nano-drug delivery systems, with emphasis on delivering tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/Aids drugs. This research is now entering pre-clinical trials, and could lead to a critical breakthrough in the treatment of these devastating diseases. Swai completed her doctoral studies at the University of London, where she worked for nine years. Her work in London included the development of an anti-fungal, slow-release device for HIV/Aids patients infected with Candida yeast infections, which was approved by the Medical Research Council in Britain. Swai received the CSIR’s Material Science and Manufacturing Excellence award for special contribution on the nano-drug delivery for anti-TB drugs. She is a member of the Developing Countries Coordinating Committee, an independent advisory body to the European and Development Clinical Trial Partnership of prominent African scientists and health professionals.
Senior Executive: Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication
Tel: +27 11 341 0360
Dr Shereen Usdin helped to establish the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication in 1992. The NGO has since won international renown for its contributions to raising public awareness of health issues, particularly relating to HIV and Aids. Usdin qualified as a medical doctor at the University of the Witwatersrand and holds a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. She was named the 2004 SABC/Shoprite-Checkers Woman of the Year in the health category and received a GIBS Social Entrepreneur Award in 2006. She has authored two books, one on the Aids pandemic and the other on the politics of global health. Her work concentrates on health and development communication, HIV and Aids, gender, health and human rights. She was a founding member of Acess (the Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security) and is a member of its board. She is also on the board of the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to End Violence Against Women and is a member of the Presidential Working Group on Women.
South African Depression and Anxiety Group
Tel: +27 11 262 6396
Zane Wilson, founder of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag), is one of South Africa’s leading mental health advocates. She formed Sadag in 1994 to promote the welfare of people with mental health problems throughout South Africa and its neighbouring states, helping Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana to establish their own advocacy groups. The group has grown to more than 40 000 patients, 180 support groups, and a scientific and advisory board of 12 professionals. In 2005 she created the Speaking Book, an interactive, multilingual learning tool for presenting complex health issues to people with low levels of literacy. Speaking Books have been endorsed by the World Bank, USAid and Merck in the US, and the departments of health and education in South Africa. Wilson was a spokesperson for Africa at the World Health Organisation’s conference in London and a guest speaker on behalf of advocacy groups at the World Congress of the International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association. She has received numerous awards and is on the Panel for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism.