UKZN academics serve on COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee
The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) is proud to have its academia contributing to the fight against COVID-19 in their roles as members of the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC), chaired by Professor Salim Abdool Karim.
Nine of the university's top academics in the College of Health Sciences are playing a critical role in guiding Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, and the National Health Department in their response to the virus. The MAC looks at best methods of controlling and mitigating the outbreak through physical distancing measures, testing strategies, contact tracing, business closures and the national lockdown.
The research sub-committee of MAC looks at pathogens, clinical modelling, disease modelling and public health interventions.
The MAC also conceptualises strategies to raise awareness and provide analysis of the economic impact of the virus on the health system. Each member acts in their individual capacity and without remuneration.
The UKZN members of the committee are Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Professor Koleka Mlisana, Professor Nombulelo Magula, Professor Yunus Moosa, Professor Prakash Jeena, Dr Dean Gopalan, Dr Moherndran Archary and Dr Silingene Joyce Ngcobo.
Below are contact numbers for each of the committee members as well as profile information:
Professor Salim Abdool Karim (FRS) is a clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist who is widely recognised for his scientific contributions in HIV prevention and treatment. He serves as Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research at UKZN and is widely known as Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). He is the CAPRISA Professor of Global Health at Columbia University in New York and an Adjunct Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University, Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Cornell University and an Associate Member of The Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University. He previously served as President of the South African Medical Research Council.
Karim is also a member of the Lancet Commission on COVID-19, the Chair of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel and the WHO's Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee for HIV.
He is ranked among the World's most highly cited scientists by the Web of Science and serves on the Boards of several journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Global Health, Lancet HIV and mBio. He is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Global Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His awards include the African Union's "Kwame Nkrumah Award", Africa's most prestigious scientific award, the Kuwait Al-Sumait Award and the Canada Gairdner Global Health Award. Karim is also a member of the US National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Microbiology and the Association of American Physicians. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).C: +27 (0)828069931; [email protected]
Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, an infectious diseases epidemiologist and Associate Scientific Director of CAPRISA is an NRF A1-rated scientist. She is the Pro-Vice Chancellor for African Health at UKZN and is Professor in Clinical Epidemiology. Abdool Karim is the UNAIDS Special Ambassador for Adolescents and HIV and co-chairs the UNAIDS Advisory Group to the Executive Director. She is currently a member of the Executive Group of the International Steering Committee for the COVID-19 SOLIDARITY Trial.
Her research over the past 28 years has focused on HIV infection in adolescent girls and young women. Her landmark study, the tenofovir gel CAPRISA 004 trial, demonstrated for the first time that antiretrovirals can prevent HIV infection.
Abdool Karim has over 200 peer reviewed publications; edited several books, contributed several book chapters including co-editing the 6th and 7th edition of the Oxford Textbook on Global Public Health. She has played a central role in building the science base in southern Africa through the Columbia University - Southern African Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Programme that has trained over 600 scientists in southern Africa. She is a member of the US National Academy of Medicine and is a Fellow of: The World Academy of Science, Royal Society of South Africa, Academy of Science of South Africa and the African Academy of Science.
Karim has received over 30 local and international prestigious awards including South Africa's highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe, from the President of South Africa and the pinnacle World Academy of Science TWAS-Lenovo Award. Most recently she was awarded the eminent Christophe M'erieux Prize in Infectious Diseases by the French Academy of Science and jointly with Salim Abdool Karim the prestigious John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award for their work in the prevention and treatment of HIV in women.
She is a Living Legend for the City of Durban - an honour bestowed by the city for citizens who have made an exemplary contribution to increase the profile of the city nationally and internationally. C: +27 (0)828069931; [email protected]
Professor Koleka Mlisana chairs the Pathologists and Laboratory sub-committee of the MAC. She is an honorary Professor in Medical Microbiology at UKZN and has served as Head of the Department of Medical Microbiology for many years. She currently serves as the executive manager: Academic Affairs, Research & Quality Assurance at the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS).
Mlisana has been a co-investigator and Project Director of the CAPRISA 004 tenofovir gel trial at the eThekwini site and Head of HIV Pathogenesis and Vaccine Research Programme at the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).
She has undertaken seminal research which has revealed how the body responds during acute HIV infection. Her current research interests include TB diagnostics, drug resistance as well as sexually transmitted infections and has co-authored more than 130 peer reviewed journal articles.
Mlisana has been a member of the Board of the South African Medical Research Council and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the South African National AIDS Council.C: +27 (0) 635723298; [email protected]
Professor Nombulelo Magula is Head of UKZN's Department of Internal medicine and serves on the MAC as an internal medicine specialist and clinical researcher in the Clinician's and Research committees. Magula has been working in the field of TB and HIV since qualifying as a Specialist Physician in 2002. In the past 10 years she led the Adult HIV clinic at King Edward VIII Hospital. Her research interests lie in the field of TB and HIV.C: +27 (0) 837751072; [email protected]
Professor Yunus Moosa is an associate Professor, Chief Specialist and Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at UKZN. He serves on the Clinicians sub-committee of the MAC. Moosa's work focuses on the care of patients and outpatients with complex infectious disease issues. He is involved in bedside teaching and training of medical students, post-graduates at all levels and infectious diseases sub-specialists.
He has previously been invited as a consultant to the WHO's Special Programme for Tropical Disease Research and Training scientific working group to assist in defining the global tuberculosis agenda and has also been invited by Social and Scientific Systems to assist with developing an assessment tool for South Africa's PEPFAR (US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief) programme. Moosa is the current president of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society.C: +27 (0) 725227997; [email protected]
Professor Prakash Jeena is Associate professor in Paediatrics and Child Care at UKZN. He is also the head of the clinical Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital where they have set up services to care for seriously ill children and adults with COVID-19. This includes intensive care and general ward space. Jeena is a part of the ORCHiD study team that won the UKZN Flagship Award and his team are now extending the project to study the relationship of SARS-CoV2 with air pollution in mother and child pairs in a longitudinal design.C: +27 (0) 844672723; [email protected]
Dr Dean Gopalan is Chief Specialist and Head of UKZN's Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care. He serves on the Clinician's and Research sub-committees of the MAC and recently graduated with a doctoral degree from UKZN. He is also president of the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa.
Gopalan is also the President of College of Anaesthetists of South Africa, Honorary Registrar Education Committee of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA), Senator and Member of Board of Directors of CMSA and executive committee member of the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (KZN Branch).
His current research interests are decision making in the Intensive Care Unit, medical education and training in low-and middle-income countries.C: +27 (0) 827774450; [email protected]
Dr Moherndran Archary is a Paediatric Infectious Disease Specialist in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at King Edward VIII Hospital affiliated to UKZN. He also serves on the Clinician's and Research sub-committee of the MAC. He is actively involved with the management of children with HIV both locally and nationally within South Africa and is the Co-Chair of South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Treatment and Care technical task team and the Paediatric Antiretroviral Treatment Guideline committee.
His research interests include antiretroviral drug therapeutics, viral resistance and optimal timing of initiation of antiretroviral therapy in the developing world.C: +27 (0) 834461973; [email protected]
Dr Silingene Joyce Ngcobo is a Community and Primary Healthcare nurse from UKZN's Discipline of Nursing. She serves in the Clinician's sub-committee of the MAC. Ngcobo has 21 years of experience in nursing and 14 of those have been devoted to nurse training programmes at various levels, with special focus on HIV and Aids training for nurses. She was involved in development of HIV and Aids curriculum for the new nursing programmes in the country in partnership with Columbia University which was implemented in public nursing colleges in Mpumalanga, Kwazulu-Natal and Free State. She currently serves as a board member of the Southern African HIV Clinician society and has held various nursing positions including community nursing sister with additional qualifications in primary healthcare. She has a special interest in HIV care and support rendered through mobile health clinics.
She is a current member of the Honour Society of Nursing, Sigma Cheta Tau International, and International Collaboration Community Health Nursing Research (ICCHNR) and has published widely.C: +27 (0) 769640215; [email protected]
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