Unprecedented Innovations and Technologies: HIV and change


Prof Refilwe Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya

Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya, MASW, PGD (Epi), MSc (Epi), PhD, is the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research & Innovation, North West University. Before joining NWU, she was Acting Executive Director/Research Director, HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Research Programme. HSRC; Editor-in-Chief of SAHARA Journal and Honorary Professor at Nelson Mandela University. She has led/co-led innovative collaborative epidemiological studies in HIV&AIDS, HIV co-morbidities and chronic NCDs. She received the 2016/2017 NSTF award for significant contribution to research and its outputs 15 years after PhD. Further, she is NRF rated scientist; fellow of Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF); African Academy of Science; Organization for Women in Science in Developing World. She is also Board/Council member of HEAIDS, NRF & ASSAF; member of German Research Foundation Panel on Infectiology; USAF Research & Innovation Strategy Group. She previously chaired SAHARA Conference; served as part/member of Secretariat of Global HIV Prevention Working Group; SANAC Key Populations; Think politically about HIV&AIDS; IAS Social and Political HIV Research; SADC HIV Prevention and Research working/advisory groups. Refilwe served as member of Network of Academies of Science in Africa and AU Commission Kwame Nkrumah Awards for Scientific Excellence. She also served as Motivator/ Mentor/Supervisor of emerging scientists through NSTF Share ‘n Dare Programme, SA Young Academy of Science and Southern Africa Young Scientists Summer Programme.

Track 1: Clinical Science and bio-medical innovations, Technologies and Responses 


Track 1 Chair : Prof Andrew K L Robinson 

Track 1 Co -Chair: Prof Ayesha Kharsany 

North West University Health Science Faculty - Deputy Dean Strategy and Business Development, and, Extraordinary professor, African Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR).


North West Provincial Health Department:

1.            HEAD: Clinical Services (2013-2017)

2.            DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL (2006-2013) – Health Services.


RESEARCH SITE DIRECTOR: MRC’s South African Aids Vaccine Initiative (2002-2005), conducting the first preventive HIV Vaccine clinical trials in South Africa

MEDICAL ADVISOR: GlaxoSmithKline, South Africa (1999-2001) managing clinical development of antiretroviral, antibiotic, malaria, influenza, hepatitis products.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health (1994-1999): eThekwini Metropolitan Council

Prof Ayesha Kharsany is a Senior Scientist at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and Honorary Associate Professor at UKZN. She earned her PhD from UKZN and received her MS in Epidemiology at Columbia University, New York, US. 

Her research focus is on understanding the evolving HIV epidemic in South Africa and factors influencing HIV acquisition, especially among young women. From 2014 to 2017 she led the team on the HIV Incidence Provincial Surveillance System - longitudinal population based surveys that monitored HIV prevalence and incidence in association with the scale-up of HIV prevention and treatment efforts in a “real world”, non-trial setting in KwaZulu-Natal and the NIH funded U.S–South Africa Program for Collaborative Biomedical Research designed to understand HIV Transmission Networks. 

This work led to the team’s ground-breaking research on phylogenetic analysis of HIV-1 sequences that provided an understanding of sexual partnering between young women and older men, a key feature in the cycle of HIV transmission. This research has shaped the local and global HIV response. 

Track 2: Possibilities and limits of big data - Epidemiology, Mathematical Modelling & Surveillance 

Track 2 Chair Prof Patrick Sullivan

Track 2 Co -chair Dr Lazarus Kuonza

Prof Patrick Sullivan is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, the Co-Director of the Prevention Sciences Core at Emory’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and a past Member of the US Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.  

He served at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1994-2008, and subsequently served in CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention as an Epidemiologist, a Team Leader and a Branch Chief.  Dr. Sullivan’s career has included work on HIV surveillance at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV vaccine research at NIH-supported HIV Vaccine Trials Network, and research on HIV prevention for MSM globally supported by the US NIH and CDC.  

Dr Lazarus Kuonza is a Medical Epidemiologist with the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). He also serves as an honorary senior lecturer of epidemiology at the School of Health Systems and Public Health of the University of Pretoria, and the School of Public Health of the University of Witwatersrand. 

He has more than 15 years’ experience in clinical medicine, public health practice, and research. Lazarus has a wide-ranging interest in the HIV field including epidemiology, surveillance and research. He has particular interest in optimizing HIV prevention modalities to reduce pregnancy associated HIV transmission, both vertical and horizontal transmission. 

Lazarus also has a passion for developing young scientists. He is actively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate public health training in several local and international universities. 


Track 3: Implementation science: Technologies, innovations and methods for scaling up effective interventions

Track 3 Chair Dr Makobetsa Khati

Track 3 Co-chair Prof Stefan Baral

Dr Makobetsa Khati, MScMed, DIC (Imperial College London), DPhil (Oxon), MPH (UCT), Pr.Sci.Nat (SA), MInstD (SA)  

Makobetsa Khati is the Executive Director of the Research Chairs and Centres of Excellence Directorate at the NRF and an Honorary Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at UCT.

He is a member of the International AIDS Society and the Institute of Directors of Southern Africa. He is the ex officio member of steering committees of the DST-NRF CoEs and serves in the Technical Advisory Committee of the HEAIDS Board and the Research Outputs Evaluation Panel of the Department of Higher Education and Training. 

Prof Stefan Baral, MD, FRCPC, CCFP, MPH, MBA, MSc

Director of the Key Populations Program

Associate Professor

Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Stefan Baral is a physician epidemiologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Stefan completed his training at the University of Toronto in Community Medicine as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and Family medicine with the Canadian Council of Family Physicians with a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins. Stefan has focused on trying to understand why people continue to be at risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV with a focus on the interactions of structural and network level determinants with individual-level proximal risks for HIV infection.  Together with colleagues, Stefan has completed over 50 empiric epidemiologic, modelling, and implementation studies focused on key populations across Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. 

Track 4: Social drivers of the epidemic: Society, race, class, culture, stigma, violence, diversity and challenges 

Track 4 Dr Nompumelelo Zungu 

Track 4 Co-chair Dr Kaymarlin Govender 

Dr Nompumelelo Zungu is a Research Director of the Operations and Implementation Research (OIR) Unit at the Human Sciences Research Council. She was recently appointed as an Associate Researcher at University of Pretoria, Department of Psychology. She is also the Editor- in-Chief of the SAHARA Journal. 

She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Cape Town. She has expertise and special interest in social aspects and social determinants of health, HIV, mental health - specifically trauma and anxiety disorders, risk and sexual behaviour among men and adolescents. She has over 18 years research experience and has been a PI, co PI, and a chief of party on several national surveys and research projects on HIV and AIDS, health and mental health. 

She is currently one of the PI’s on the 5th National HIV Prevalence and Incidence Survey. She was recently a PI on PEPFAR Gender Analysis, and a Co-PI on the rapid ethnography study of the vulnerability of young women (aged 15-24 yrs.) to HIV infection in 3 provinces of South Africa. She has co-authored over 49 journal articles, 9 book chapters and 21 research reports. 

Dr Kaymarlin Govender is a behavioural scientist specialising in research on HIV/AIDS in young and vulnerable populations in the Eastern and Southern African region. He is currently Research Director at the Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Kaymarlin was previously associate editor of the African Journal of AIDS Research.

 He has undertaken research for funders such as Sida, USAID, DfiD, STINT, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the CDC. He has had more 80 than peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals and led two special editions on structural drivers of HIV. He is currently co–investigator of NRF Centre of Excellence; Cluster Group -Adolescent Well-being and editor of a forthcoming book on HIV prevention strategies among adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa. 

Track 5: Social Justice: Relationships and power – community, policies, laws, health systems, human rights, donor agencies and the state 

Track 5 Chair Mx HyeJin Kim

Track 5 Co-chair Prof Amaboo Dhai 

Mx HyeJin Kim is the Regional Key Population Programme Officer at the AIDS & Rights Alliance for Southern Africa and coordinate the diverse advocacy programmes related to key population issues at the organisation. 

HyeJin is a non-binary trans person who has worked in Europe and Asia on sexual and reproductive health and rights, sex worker rights, and transgender issues, before moving to South Africa in 2008. 

Since then they have worked at Gender DynamiX, a transgender organisation based in Cape Town, before moving to the ARASA. Furthermore, they have been a guest lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, Humboldt University, and the University of Cape Town. 

A. Dhai PhD, MBChB, FCOG, LLM, PGDip-IntResEthics

Prof Dhai established and is the Director of the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, and Honorary Professor in the College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University, UK. She is Chairperson of the National Bioethics Committee of the UNESCO National Commission and is a Board member of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority. 

She served two terms as Deputy Chair of the National Health Research Ethics Council and is a Past President of the South African Medical Association. She is on the WHO’s African Advisory Committee for Health Research and was on Working Groups of the WMA (Declarations of Helsinki, 2013 and Taipei, 2016). She participated in activities of the Institutes of Medicine (USA), and the National Academies of Sciences (USA). She is also on the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO and on a CIOMS Working Group on Regulating Health Research in LMICs. She is Editor-in-chief of the South African Journal of Bioethics and Law and Associate Editor of the South African Medical Journal. She can be credited with entrenching bioethics and human rights as an integral aspect of health sciences in SA. Using an academic platform, Professor Dhai has taken a lead in health advocacy and activism locally and internationally.