South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
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Health Systems Research Unit


 
 


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Contact details 

Tel: +27 21 938-0454
Fax: +27 21 938-0483

Staff details

Catherine MathewsCatherine Mathews
Director
Chief Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0401
cathy.mathews@mrc.ac.za

Catherine Mathews is a scientist and director in the Health Systems Research Unit, based in the Cape Town office of the Medical Research Council. She is also an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town, in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine and in the Adolescent Health Research Unit of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health. Her work is in the field of HIV prevention and adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Her research includes evaluations of HIV prevention programmes for young adolescents, focussing on school health systems.  It also includes evaluations of clinic-based HIV and STI prevention programmes. She is an editor for the Cochrane Sexually Transmitted Infections Review Group.

tanyaTanya Doherty
Chief Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0454
tanya.doherty@mrc.ac.za

Tanya Doherty is a chief specialist scientist with a focus on maternal and child health research including prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, child survival evaluations and community randomised trials. Tanya is an Extraordinary Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape and Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand.

Arvin Bhana Arvin Bhana
Chief Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 31 203-4892
arvin.bhana@mrc.ac.za

Arvin Bhana is a chief specialist scientist with a focus on child and adolescent mental health and well-being and substance use (brief interventions) with a strong focus on evidence based, intervention focused randomized control trials. Currently, he is the principle investigator on the psychosocial and mental health intervention for perinatally HIV infected adolescent project (VUKA) and a co-investigator on the Programme for Integrated Mental Health Care (PRIME) and Comorbid Affective Disorders, AIDS/HIV and Long Term Health (COBALT). He is a lead investigator in the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development at the University of Witwatersrand. Arvin is an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Applied Human Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

emannuelleEmmanuelle Daviaud
Senior Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0454
(27) 083 302 3561
edaviaud@mrc.ac.za

Emmanuelle Daviaud is a health economist and senior specialist scientist. Her main focus is on economic evaluation and human resources planning in South Africa and other African countries. Her work includes development of Human Resource Planning model for PHC re-engineering in South-Africa, multi-country economic evaluation of community-based programs to decrease neonatal mortality, costing of community case management in six African countries, assessing cost-effectiveness of MDR-TB treatment in different platforms of delivery, and assessing cost-effectiveness of using Mhealth to strengthen diabetics adherence.

Simon LewinSimon Lewin
Senior Specialist Scientist

Simon.Lewin@mrc.ac.za

Simon Lewin is a health systems researcher at the MRC and at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. His work is largely within the field of implementation research, including systematic reviews of complex health interventions; the evaluation of strategies for changing professional and consumer behaviours; and methods for qualitative evidence synthesis. He is currently working on a new approach for assessing how much confidence to place in findings from qualitative evidence syntheses; on evidence-based strategies for improving communication about childhood vaccination; and on supporting research evidence use in low- and middle-income countries. He is a joint Co-ordinating Editor for the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group.

Ameena GogaAmeena Goga
Senior Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 12 339-8524
ameena.goga@mrc.ac.za

Ameena Goga is a paediatrician with a strong interest in preventing maternal and child co-morbidity, the epidemiology of early childhood illnesses, and community paediatrics. Her research over the past ten years her research has focused on infant feeding and the early and late population-level impact of the South African Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme. She holds an Extraordinary Professorship at the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Pretoria.

karenKaren Daniels
Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0836/0911
karen.daniels@mrc.ac.za

Karen Daniels is a social scientist working in the field of public health research.  She regards herself as an activist at heart and considers research another site of social activism. She started out as a qualitative researcher after training in English and History, but her interest in health led her to an MPH (UCT) and a Dr.PH (NHV). Over the years she has gained a wide range of experience within the field of health policy and systems research. She has been engaged in projects focused on infectious diseases, human resource solutions, evidence use in policy, gender and policy and policy implementation. Currently she leads the South African Initiative for Systematic Reviews on Health Policies and Systems (SAI). She is also the lead investigator for a review on incentives for lay health workers, and a co-investigator and post graduate supervisor on several qualitative studies.

marianMarian Loveday
Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 33 345-2778, 082 441 7040
marian.loveday@mrc.ac.za

Marian Loveday is a specialist scientist with a focus on TB, drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) and health systems research. She is currently working on documenting and evaluating different models of care for DR-TB patients across South Africa. As part of this study she has become involved in documenting the experiences of health care workers, patients with DR-TB and the caregivers of children with DR-TB. Her research interests include tuberculosis, TB/HIV co-infection, operational research and health systems.

natalieNatalie Leon
Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0454
natalie.leon@mrc.ac.za

Natalie Leon is a specialist scientist with a focus on qualitative process evaluations of complex health interventions. She previously worked as a public sector clinical psychologist and in supporting PHC service delivery. Her interests include health systems strengthening research on cross-cutting issues such as health management, health information and continuous quality improvement. She is leading a multi-stage process evaluation of a mHealth RCT for diabetes care adherence and co-investigator in a study testing an informational support intervention for increased linkage to HIV care for men.

Nobubelo Ngandu
Specialist Scientist

Tel: + 27 21 938 0316
Nobubelo.Ngandu@mrc.ac.za

Nobubelo Ngandu is an HIV Computational Biologist with further training in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Her previous work, at the University of Cape Town, involved modelling HIV molecular evolution of virus strains infecting the Southern African population. Her current main research interests are in HIV molecular evolution and epidemiology in the context of mother-to-child transmission. Her secondary interest is in assessing wealth-related inequity to access and uptake of health services and programs aimed at preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and at improving mother and child health in general.

yangaYanga Zembe
Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0401
yanga.zembe@mrc.ac.za

Yanga is a social scientist with research interests in adolescent sexual health, gender and wealth inequalities (and their impact on sexual health outcomes), gender based violence, health systems surveillance of sexual risk behaviours and intimate partner violence, the role of the family unit in the development and management of adolescent risk behaviour and the use of community participation methods in intervention development.  She is currently involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of an intervention to reduce gender based violence in a peri-urban community in the Western Cape. Recently she was involved in the evaluation of a STI partner notification monitoring system in health facilities in Khayelitsha. She has also been involved in several HIV bio-behavioural surveillance studies among most-at-risk populations of women and men who have multiple sexual partners, men who-have-sex-with- men and migrant populations.

wangaWanga Zembe
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0803
wanga.zembe@mrc.ac.za

Wanga Zembe is a social scientist with a PhD from Oxford University, who has worked on several maternal and child health research projects in the Unit. Her focal area is Social Policy and Health, with special research interests in the intersection between state income maintenance programmes, poverty alleviation strategies and health outcomes. Current work focuses on the use of cash transfer programs to improve child outcomes, particularly child nutrition, in low and middle income countries.

Witness ChirindaWitness Chirinda
Senior Research manager

+27 21 938 0282
witness.chirinda@mrc.ac.za

Witness Chirinda has a background in demography, and holds a PhD from the University of the Western Cape. Currently he is the research manager for the South African prevention of mother-to-child-transmission evaluation (SAPMTCTE). His research interests include maternal and child health and programme evaluation.

Vundli RamokoloVundli Ramokolo
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0549
Vundli.Ramokolo@mrc.ac.za

Vundli Ramokolo is an epidemiologist with a keen interest in (1) the interactions between nutrition and disease, (2) developmental origins of health and disease and (3) the relation between food security and health outcomes. She is a co-investigator in the South African prevention of mother-to-child-transmission evaluation (SAPMTCTE) and a Co-PI in a birth cohort assessing the utilisation of the CSG and its link to dietary diversity and child growth. Vundli is currently completing her PhD at the University of Bergen (Norway) through the National Health Scholars Programme Scholarship.

Arrie OdendaalArrie Odendaal
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0454
willem.odendaal@mrc.ac.za

Arrie Odendaal is a registered research psychologist with experience in understanding and describing the role of lay health workers (LHWs) in addressing health issues in low-income country contexts. He is currently leading a study assessing LHWs’ use of mHealth in the Western Cape. He has an interest in formative evaluations of interventions and in conducting systematic reviews. He coordinates the South African Initiative for Systematic Reviews on Health Policies and Systems (SAI) that is hosted by the Health Systems Research Unit.

Duduzile NsibandeDuduzile Nsibande
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27 31 203-4891
dnsibande@mrc.ac.za

Duduzile Nsibande is a registered nurse with a Masters in Public Health qualification. Her research experience within maternal and child health includes prevention of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV, infant feeding, programme evaluation and continuous quality improvement.  

Darshini GovindasamyDarshini Govindasamy
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938 0365
darshini.govindasamy@mrc.ac.za

Ms Darshini Govindasamy is an epidemiologist who is currently extending her skill set into the area of costing and economic evaluations. Her previous research has assessed the attrition and barriers to care along the HIV care cascade in sub-Saharan Africa. She has conducted a series of systematic reviews in the field of HIV and TB, most of which have been commissioned by the World Health Organization. She has developed a strong interest in HIV and sexual reproductive health service provision models for children and adolescents with a focus on access, uptake, linkage to care and understanding how supply and demand factors impact the success of these models. She is currently overseeing a large 5 year CDC-funded project aimed at strengthening school health services implementation in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This project will form the basis of her PhD studies in Health Economics through the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Tracy McClinton Appollis
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0451
tracy.mcclintonappollis@mrc.ac.za

Tracy McClinton Appollis is a qualified mental health counsellor registered with the HPCSA working as a research co-ordinator on a large 5 year CDC-funded project aimed at strengthening school health services implementation in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She has an Mphil degree in Public Mental Health and has experience working on projects focussed on HIV and violence prevention and promoting healthy sexual relationships among adolescents in schools.

Lieve Vanleeuw Lieve Vanleeuw
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27219380821; +27720478379
Lieve.vanleeuw@mrc.ac.za

Lieve Vanleeuw is a social scientist with a research focus on TB, DR-TB and health systems. She is currently working on documenting and evaluating different models of care for DR-TB patients in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. She is furthermore involved in research looking at point-of-care TB diagnostic tools and passive case finding strategies.

Donela Besada
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0454
Donnela.Besada@mrc.ac.za

Donela Besada is working in the areas of maternal and child health services, community models of care, programme and economic evaluations. Her work includes a multi-country evaluation of an integrated health system strengthening initiative as well as a programme focusing on strengthening community and facility based service delivery in the area of prevention of mother to child HIV transmission. She also does costing work in the area of community health services in South Africa and a costing effectiveness study of m-health techonology in Malawi and South Africa. She is currently working on her postgraduate diploma in health economics from the University of Cape Town.

Vuyolwethu MagasanaVuyolwethu Magasana
Scientist

Tel: +27 31 203-4913
vuyolwethu.magasana@mrc.ac.za

Vuyolwethu Magasana is a Project Leader who completed a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Western Cape. She has been involved in PMTCT surveys for the past 10 years and her experience includes working as a field worker, supervising data collection, participating in the development of survey questionnaires and SOPs, training field workers and coordinating provincial field work activities. She has worked as the Provincial Coordinator in the SAPMTCT survey evaluating the effectiveness of the PMTCT programme and has been involved with the multi-country evaluation of Option B+. She has strong qualitative research skills and her current work is focused on maternal and infant antiretroviral adherence.

Yolisa Mtshizana
Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0401
yolisa.mtshizana@mrc.ac.za

Yolisa Mtshizana is a social scientist with strong qualitative research skills. Most of her project work focuses on HIV prevention and adolescents and on sexual and reproductive health issues. Her current projects focus on preventing the spread of HIV amongst adolescents, preventing intimate partner violence and helping adolescents develop healthy sexual relationships. Her work also focuses on adolescents’ experiences following HIV testing, and whether they are linked into appropriate care and support services.

Yagespari SinghYagespari Singh
Chief Research Technologist

Tel: +27 31 203-3649
yages.singh@mrc.ac.za

Yagespari Singh is a data manager with a Masters in Public Health obtained from the University of Western Cape. Her work over the last 9 years has been in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission studies. Her research experience is on quality management with focus on data management. Other operational interests is the use of mobile technology for data collection and monitoring tool which has been used in various studies that she was involved in. She is based in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Trisha RamrajTrisha Ramraj
Scientist

Tel: +27 31 203-4811
trisha.ramraj@mrc.ac.za

Trisha Ramraj is based at the Durban office. She has an Honours degree in Medical Science and is currently studying towards her MPH at UKZN. She has previously been in involved in the project co-ordination of clinical trials at the TB and HIV Units and has recently coordinated the SAPMTCT evaluation in the Free State, KZN and North West provinces. Her research interests are maternal and child health and HIV prevention in adolescents.

Natasha TitusNatasha Titus
Senior Research Technologist

Tel: +27 21 938 0282
ntitus@mrc.ac.za

Natasha Titus is the Technical & Data Manager Assistant on the South African prevention of mother-to-child-transmission (SAPMTCT) evaluation study. Her duties include providing technical/mobile and data support to data collectors and members of the team. Her research interests are in Health Information & Data Management.

Nobuntu NoveveNobuntu Noveve
Senior Research Technologist     
Tel: +27 21 938 0694 
nobuntu.noveve@mrc.ac.za

Nobuntu Noveve has worked as a medical technologist in South Africa and abroad. She joined MRC in 2010 as a Logistics Manager on the South African Prevention of mother-to-child Transmission of HIV Evaluation(SAPMTCTE). She is currently working as an Acting Project Manager on the (SAPMTCTE). Her interests are maternal and child health, prevention of HIV and mHealth interventions.

Thantaswa Mbenenge-MgungquthuThantaswa Mbenenge-Mgungquthu
Senior Research Technologist   
  
Tel: +27 21 938 0412                         
thantaswa.mbenenge-mgungquthu@mrc.ac.za

Thantaswa Mbenenge-Mgungquthu is the coordinator for the Child Support Grant (CSG) and Child nutrition studies. This is a birth cohort assessing the utilisation of the CSG and its link to dietary diversity and child growth.

Sindisiwe Hlangu
Research Technologist (E)

Tel: +27 31 2034893
Sindisiwe.hlangu@mrc.ac.za

Sindisiwe Hlangu has worked for the HSRU for the past 8 years and has been involved in several studies. She has worked as a fieldworker where she was involved in data collection, administration of the Informed Consent and reimbursement of participants. Her work experience also involved supervision of Community Health Workers in the Maternal and Neonatal study in Umlazi, interviewing Professional Health Care workers and clinic records review for data quality improvement in the KwaZulu Natal Districts. She was also assisting with updating the EDR-web system at MDR-TB clinic at King Dinuzulu Hospital Complex. She is currently involved in the drug-resistant TB study conducting in-depth interviews with patients, reviewing records, transcribing, translating and data capturing.

sylviaSylvia Louw
Chief Officer     
Tel: +27 21 938-0454 
sylvia.louw@mrc.ac.za

Sylvia Louw is an Administration Officer for the Unit since 1996. She is assisting the Unit staff with admin and research support. 

Jazelle KiewitzJazelle Kiewitz
Chief Officer   
  

Tel: +27 21 938-0504 
jazelle.kiewitz@mrc.ac.za

Jazelle Kiewitz is a chief officer in administration and the objective of the position is to manage the office and work flow of SAPMTCTE/IHSS Survey within HSRU i.e. including the daily administrative functions. She provides assistance and does liaising with the intra- and extra-mural research units and directorates affiliated with the organization, and she handles the communications from the various stakeholders associated with the organization. Her main purpose is to ensure the effective functioning of the office at managerial level, manage and coordinate priority/focus areas of SAPMTCTE/IHSS - in order to ensure that the survey meets its objectives efficiently and effectively.

Lucille Heyns Lucille Heyns
Assistant Administrator

Tel: +27 21 938-0812
Lucille.heyns@mrc.ac.za

Lucille Heyns provide administrative support to the South African prevention of mother-to-child-transmission (SAPMTCTE) evaluation study. Her duties include administrative support to members of the unit, SAPMTCTE survey and provincial data collectors, in order to ensure that the survey meets its objectives efficiently and effectively.

Ntombifikile MbathaNtombifikile Mbatha
Officer

Tel: +27 31 203 4858
Ntombifikile.Mbatha@mrc.ac.za

Ntombifikile Mbatha provides administration support to the members of the Health Systems Research Unit (TB &PMTCT). She has joined HSRU in June 2015 and had previously worked in the MRC Malaria Research Unit for 6 years. She has been working as an administrator for more than 15 years and her duties included office administration, data encoding and customer service.

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Last updated:
1 December, 2016
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