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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
Acting Director
Chief Specialist Scientist

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

Catherine Mathews is a scientist and acting 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.

emannuelleEmmanuelle Daviaud
Senior Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0454
emmanuelle.daviaud2@mrc.ac.za

Emmanuelle Daviaud is a health economist and senior specialist scientist.  Her main focus is how to optimise allocation and use of resources towards stated objectives.  She has been working in the areas of human resources, costing and evaluation.  She is currently working on a model for human resource planning at PHC level, on a multi-country economic evaluation of community-based programs to decrease neonatal mortality (Save New Born Lives) and on a costing of community case management in six African countries (UNICEF).

Simon LewinSimon Lewin
Senior Specialist Scientist

Simon.Lewin@kunnskapssenteret.no

Simon Lewin is a social scientist at the MRC and at the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services. 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 several reviews on ‘task shifting’; on evidence-based strategies for improving communication about childhood vaccination; and on supporting research evidence use in low- and middle-income countries. He is an editor for the Cochrane Consumers and Communication and Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Review Groups.

tanyaTanya Doherty
Senior Specialist Scientist

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

Tanya Doherty is a senior specialist scientist with a focus on maternal and child health research. She is currently working on an evaluation of child survival interventions in six African countries. Her research focus areas are prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, maternal and child health, child survival evaluations and community randomised trials. 

Ameena Goga
Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 12 339-8531
ameena.goga@mrc.ac.za

Ameena Goga is a pediatrician 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 three years has focused on population-level impact of the South African Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme. Her current work also includes barriers to uptake of HIV-related care, early warning systems for ARV resistance and improving systems for the diagnosis and ongoing management of childhood illnesses. She is currently MRC principle investigator on the SAPMTCT Evaluation, a national survey evaluating the effectiveness of the PMTCT programme. She holds an honorary position at the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Kalafong Hospital, University of Pretoria.

karenKaren Daniels
Specialist Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0301/0454
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.

loraineLoraine Townsend
Specialist scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0316
loraine.townsend@mrc.ac.za

Loraine Townsend is aresearch psychologist currently leading a research focus in the Unit: HIV biological and behavioural surveillance and interventions to reduce risk among people at high risk of HIV. She is a principal investigator on a large, five-year, multi-institutional HIV surveillance project and co-investigator on three other such projects. Her focal areas include HIV surveillance among people with multiple partners, refugees and foreign migrants, men who-have-sex- with men, HIV prevention trials and adolescent substance use.

marianMarian Loveday
Senior Scientist

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

Marian Loveday is a senior scientist and engaged with her doctoral studies in the Public Health Department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her doctoral work evaluates different models of care for patients with MDR-TB in KwaZulu-Natal. Her research interests include tuberculosis, TB/HIV co-infection and health systems. She is currently involved with the multi-country evaluation of community case management for child survival.

natalieNatalie Leon
Senior Scientist

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

Natalie Leon is a scientist who completed her PhD in Public Health at the University of Cape Town in 2011. Her doctoral study was a multi-method, outcome and process evaluation of a provider-initiated HIV screening intervention for STI patients.  She has worked as a clinical psychologist in a psychiatric hospital and in health systems strengthening for primary health care. Her interest is in research that addresses cross-cutting health systems issues such as human resources, health information for management and continuous quality improvement. She is currently working on an evaluation of child survival interventions in six African countries and leading a systematic review on accountability mechanisms.

sarahSarah Dewing
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0258
sarah.dewing@mrc.ac.za

Sarah Dewing is a research psychologist with a PhD from the University of Cape Town.  Her PhD was an evaluation of a positive prevention intervention that was implemented by lay counsellors working within public healthcare facilities in Cape Town. Her research areas are programme evaluation, behavioural interventions for HIV prevention and ARV adherence.

Selamawit WoldesenbetSelamawit Woldesenbet
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0454
s.woldesenbet@mrc.ac.za

Selamawit Woldesenbet is a senior scientist with a PhD from the University of Western Cape. Her PhD was based on a national survey assessing the South African prevention of mother- to-child transmission (PMTCT) and early infant diagnosis (EID) programme. Her research interests are maternal and child health, ART- based HIV prevention interventions in adults and children and the influence of health systems in the prevention of HIV. She is currently a Foggarty Fellow, reading for a Masters in Epidemiology at Columbia University.

wangaWanga Zembe
Senior Scientist

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

Wanga Zembe is a social scientist who has worked on several maternal and child health research projects in the Unit and she completed her PhD from Oxford in 2013.  Her special research interests include the use of cash transfer programs to improve child outcomes in developing countries, and the use of cash incentives to modify behaviour and improve treatment outcomes. Current work includes the evaluation of child survival interventions in six African countries.

Arrie OdendaalArrie Odendaal
Senior Scientist

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

Willem 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 the use of audio and visual diary-keeping as alternative method to interviews and focus groups. He coordinates the South African Initiative for Systematic Reviews on Health Policies and Systems (SAI) that is hosted by the Health Systems Research Unit.

yangaYanga Zembe
Senior 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.

Vuyolwethu Magasana
Senior Scientist

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

Vuyolwethu Magasana is a Provincial Coordinator in the SAPMTCT survey evaluating the effectiveness of the PMTCT programme and has been involved in PMTCT surveys for the past 9 years. 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. Her strong interests are in developing herself in qualitative research (developing field guides, conducting in-depth interviews, facilitating focus groups and analysis).

Duduzile Nsibande
Senior Scientist

Tel: +27 31 203-4927
dnsibande@mrc.ac.za

Duduzile Nsibande is a registered nurse-educator with a Masters degree in Public Health obtained from the University of the Western Cape.  Her research experience is in monitoring and evaluation, quality improvement through mentoring within Maternal and Child Health, PMTCT and STIs. She is currently involved with the multi-country evaluation of a child survival intervention. She is based in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. 

Tebogo Mathope
Senior Scientist   
  

Tel: +27 12 339 8540 
tebogo.mathope@mrc.ac.za

Tebogo Mathope has a Masters Degree in Biomedical Technology. She currently works on the laboratory aspects of the SAPMTCT Evaluation. Her research area of interest is ARV resistance and the influence of traditional medicines on ARV resistance.

Vundli RamokoloVundli Ramokolo
Scientist

Tel: +27 21 938-0454
vundli.ramokolo@mrc.ac.za

Vundli Ramokolo is a co-investigator in the South African prevention of mother-to-child-transmission evaluation (SAPMTCTE) with an interest in nutritional and developmental outcomes. Within the broad maternal and child health research area she is particularly interested in the 1) interactions between nutrition and disease, 2) life course epidemiology of child growth and development and 3) relation between food security and child health outcomes. She is also a National Health Scholars Programme Scholarship holder, currently pursuing a PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology at the Centre for International Health in Bergen University, Norway.

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 Singh
Chief Research Technologist

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

Yagespari Singh is a data manager on the South African prevention of mother-to-child-transmission (SAPMTCT) evaluation study. She has primarily worked on PMTCT studies over the last 7 years with a focus on quality management of data. Other operational interests is the use of mobile technology as a data collection and monitoring tool - which was used in the Goodstart III study and currently used in SAPMTCTE survey.

Trisha Ramraj
Chief Research Technologist

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

Trisha Ramraj has an honours degree in Medical Science and is based at the HSRU Durban office. She is currently involved in the project coordination of the SAPMTCT Evaluation (a national survey evaluating the effectiveness of the PMTCT programme) in 3 provinces (Free State, Kwa-Zulu Natal and North West). Her research interests are maternal and child health and HIV prevention in adolescents.

Tshawe Ncedana
Senior Research Technologist

Tel: +27 21 938 0412
tshawe.ncedana@mrc.ac.za

Tshawe Ncedana joined MRC in 2010 and is based at the HSRU Cape Town Office. She is currently involved in the project of the SAPMTCT Evaluation (a National survey evaluating the effectiveness of the PMTCT programme).  She is a supervisor of three provinces (Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape). Her research interests are maternal and child health and HIV prevention.

Natasha 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. She has primarily worked on the PMTCT study for last two-and-a half years. Her duties include providing data and mobile support to data collectors and members of the team.

Nontombi Memela                          
Senior Research Technologist  
   
Tel: +27 21 938 0282                            
nontombi.memela@mrc.ac.za

Nontombi Memela has a B-Tech Degree in Environmental Health and is based at the HSRU Cape Town office. She is currently involved in the project of the SAPMTCT Evaluation. Her research interests are infant feeding and child care and HIV prevention.

Nobuntu Noveve
Senior Research Technologist  
   

Tel: +27 21 938 0306                            
nobuntu.noveve@mrc.ac.za

Nobuntu Noveve has a National Diploma in Medical Technology. She has worked as a medical technologist in South Africa and abroad and is currently the Logistics Manager on the South African PMTCT Evaluation.

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

Thantaswa Mbenenge-Mgungquthu is a coordinator on the SAPMTCT Evaluation (a national survey evaluating the effectiveness of the PMTCT programme) in three provinces (Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo).

Sikhethiwe Masuku
Senior Research Technologist  
   

Tel: +27 12 339 8595 
Sikhethiwe.masuku@mrc.ac.za

Sikhethiwe Masuku (Registered Professional Nurse) is a Provincial Supervisor on the SAPMTCT Evaluation (a national survey evaluating the effectiveness of the PMTCT programme) in three provinces (KwaZulu Natal, Free State and North West). Her experience includes working as a field worker, supervising data collection and project management.

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 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
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.

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Last updated:
2 July, 2014
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