IGHS’s mission to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to disease prevention and quality healthcare relies on experts in countries around the world. We have recently hired two fantastic local experts in Malawi and South Africa. We are spotlighting them here.
Thulani Mbatha, MPH, works from Johannesburg, South Africa, as Project Director for Optimizing Performance by Improving Quality (OPIQ) in HIV and HIV/TB Programs under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Just before he started work at IGHS a month ago, Thulani enjoyed a 6-month sabbatical to spend more time with his young family and his two dogs. He also took up boxing. Before that, he was the country director of a South African health NGO, where he was responsible for implementing public health programs funded by USAID and the Global Fund in Nigeria and South Africa.
Asked what he’s doing on a day-to-day basis for IGHS, he said, “Lots of learning, trying to know which of these many amazing and talented colleagues I need to collaborate with in order expand the delivery of health services to our people in South Africa!” Thulani has already been meeting with key stakeholders and partners from Department of Health and the PEPFAR District Support Partners.
Steven Gowelo, PhD, based on Malawi, is an entomologist working with the Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI) as a vector control program manager. Prior to joining IGHS, Steven was a postdoctoral fellow at the Partnership for Increasing the Impact of Vector Control (PIIVeC), researching tsetse fly dynamics in a sleeping sickness focus in northern Malawi.
As part of MEI, he works with local vector control programs and partners to apply and scale methods associated with MEI’s Entomological Surveillance Planning Tool.
Steven is passionate about contributing to the entomological data to inform malaria intervention deployment and policy. There is a dearth, he notes, of medical entomologists in Malawi and other malaria-endemic countries, which makes him want to contribute to capacity development and mentorship.