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We are a multidisciplinary team with backgrounds in public health, education, health promotion, sociology, biostatistics, demography and medicine.

Dr Nirvana Pillay

Nirvana Pillay is a sociologist and focuses her work on research, evaluation, capacity development, training, facilitation and materials development. She has experience working in projects that require interfacing closely with communities, government and civil society. Nirvana has worked at an implementation and evaluation level, and has experience with qualitative research practice through participatory-based methodologies. She is comfortable using systems thinking and an appreciative approach that draws on working with all relevant “systems in a room,” particularly important when working within multi-stakeholder forums. She was a contributing author to the book, Developing Capacity for Health: a Practical Guide, Heineman (2010).


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Dr Nancy Coulson

Nancy Coulson focuses her work in the areas of capacity development, training, materials development, communication, organisational and institutional change, evaluation, qualitative and case study research. Her extensive experience covers HIV and AIDS (especially support to vulnerable children), primary health care, health promotion, environmental health and mine occupational health and safety. She holds a M.Ed in Education for Primary Health Care and is completing a PhD through the School of Public Health at the University of Witwatersrand. She lives and works in South Africa and has work experience in Southern and West Africa.


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Associate Team

Dr Sibusiso Mkhwanazi
Biostatistician and Demographer

Dr Sibusiso Mkhwanazi has ten years of consultancy experience in health and social research.  She is a qualified Dentist and holds a PhD in Demography and Population Studies, a Masters in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and postgraduate qualifications in public policy and analysis, project management, marketing management, and employee health and wellness. Dr. Mkwananzi has vast experience in public health, statistical analysis, policy analysis and advocacy as well as youth development. She is a fellow of the South African Humanities Deans' Association (SAHUDA) and a previous recipient of the National Research Foundation Innovation and Scarce Skills Fellowship, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Foundation and Wits University Postgraduate Merit Scholarships.

Dr Lucy Connell
Medical Doctor

Lucy has extensive experience in the clinical care of HIV-infected children and in the training of clinicians in PMTCT and childhood HIV and TB. More recently she has trained and, more recently clinical leadership and clinical governance. Lucy has a keen interest in planning, implementing and evaluating initiatives to strengthen health systems, with a focus on maternal and child health services. She continues her in involvement in the clinical management of HIV-infected children. Lucy trained as a medical doctor and has completed an MSc in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has diplomas in Child Health, Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and HIV Management.

Nobukhosi Ncube
Project Manager and Researcher

Nobukhosi Ncube is a sociologist and holds a Health Sociology Master’s Degree, a Sociology Honours Degree, from the School of Social Sciences at the University of Witwatersrand. She has a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Criminology and Child and Youth Development from Monash University – South Africa. She is an experienced qualitative researcher who has worked in research projects including COVID-19 vaccination, HIV and AIDS and reproductive health working with various South African government departments and organisations. Her research interests include health seeking behaviours of young women of reproductive age, fertility, femininity, and the politics of reproductive health. 

Manape Precious Shogole

Manape Precious Shogole, is an anthropologist and researcher. She has a background in social and medical anthropology, environmental and human geography, GIS, and international relations obtained from the University of Witwatersrand. Her honours research looked at thrift shopping, body representation and the construction of personhood through second-hand clothing in central Johannesburg (2016). Her Master’s research focused on how informal street waste pickers are affected by state intervention programmes such as waste separation at source (2019) the findings of which are included in the National Waste Picker Guidelines. Manape is a spoken word poet and digital (virtual reality) storyteller. She is also a qualified senior tutor and seasonal lecturer at University of Pretoria.

Cheryl Goldstone is a medical doctor with extensive experience working in and managing primary health care services, developing district health services, health programme development, implementation monitoring and evaluation. She also worked in the private health sector as medical advisor & subsequently medical director of two multinational pharmaceutical companies. Her consulting experience includes situation analysis and resource mapping, programme review; capacity assessment and capacity development planning; programme monitoring, evaluation and support, programme management and impact assessment. Her particular interests are health systems strengthening and capacity development through coaching and mentoring. She is a contributing author to a book published by Heinemann entitled Developing Capacity for Health: A Practical Approach. Cheryl holds postgraduate qualifications in Child Health, Infectious Diseases (Tropical Medicine & Hygiene), Public Health & Health Services Management.

Dr Mariette Slabbert

Dr Mariette Slabbert holds a PhD in Social Sciences and published her thesis on “the sexual and reproductive health outcomes of vulnerable women in South Africa: sex workers and adolescent girls”. She has worked in both private and public South African health systems at facility and community levels for over 30 years, as a clinical pharmacist, marketing manager, hospital manager, lecturer, chief operating officer, director of key populations and operations, and as an independent consultant specialising in policy and strategy development and programme evaluations. She has been involved in comprehensive HIV, TB and STI programming since 2004. As an independent consultant, she has been responsible for and contributed to the development of multiple national policies; local, national and regional strategies; and evaluation of programmes and policies. Dr Slabbert specialises in developing rights-based key and vulnerable population programmes, policies and strategies to remove barriers that obstruct human rights. 

Jelika Gumbo

Jelika Gumbo holds a master’s degree in health sociology. She is skilled in qualitative research and fieldwork. In her master’s research, she investigated how social factors influence health-seeking behaviours of individuals living with food allergies. Jelika is currently an intern at Sarraounia Public Health Trust. She has worked as a tutor for history and health sociology courses at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has worked as a field worker for the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) under Wits University. Jelika is also interested in gender studies, children and youth-related studies and holds a degree in child and youth development.

Dr Cheryl Goldstone
Medical Doctor
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