building night

Our core aim is to improve population health by reducing the phenomenal burden of HIV and TB in the population of rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and limiting the morbidity and mortality associated with emerging non-communicable diseases. This is achieved through cutting-edge multidisciplinary research with a focus on impact and policy change.

We focus our strategy on five programmes, each of which incorporates multidisciplinary research from across the Africa Centre for Population Health Faculty, supplemented by external Fellowship, theme and grant funding.


The Africa Centre for Population Health was established in 1996 when the Wellcome Trust put out a call for applications to establish an international research centre for population and reproductive health in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The University of Natal and Durban Westville and the South African Medical Research Council came together to form the centre, which was then called the Africa Centre for Population and Reproductive Health.

Initially, Africa Centre for Population Health staff and researchers worked from a tiny room behind a garage in Mtubatuba. From there, we moved to a larger building in Mtubatuba where we stayed until March 2002, when we relocated to the current main research building in KwaSomkhele.

In 2002, the centre became known as the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies to more accurately reflect the range of health and population research being conducted. Since 1997 the centre has conducted health research under the consecutive leadership of Professor Solarsh, Professor Eleanor Preston-Whyte, Dr Michael Bennish, Professor Marie Louise Newell and now Professor Deenan Pillay.

In 2015, under the leadership of Professor Deenan Pillay, the Africa Centre for Population Health has undergone a transformation, both scientifically with a bold new scientific research strategy, and physically with building renovations to support our ambitious new programme and accommodate the growing number of staff.

After consultation with Africa Centre staff and the local community, the Centre embarked on a visual and verbal rebranding to emphasise the new scientific direction that the centre is taking. 

We are governed by a Governance Committee which  includes representatives from the  University of Kwa-Zulu Natal , University College London  and the Wellcome Trust, who meet three times a year.  The Director is advised by an International Scientific Advisory Board who meet annually. The Clinical Operations Platform is advised by a Medical Advisory Board who meet quarterly.  The Clinical Operations Platform undertakes a programme to enhance Clinical Governance across all operational groups. 

Our Governance Committee are:

Click on the links below to view each member's profile.

Deenan Pillay

Kobus Herbst

Lawrence Nachito

Revival Sphiwe Mtshali

Nidhee Jadeja

David Lomas

Graham Hart

Jonathan Blackledge

Rob Slotow

Simon Kay

International Scientific Advisory Board

The International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) is an advisory committee established by the Wellcome Trust in consultation with University of KwaZulu Natal and the Director of the Africa Centre for Population Health. Its remit is to:

  • Provide  advice, support and guidance to the Director and the Centre on the Centre’s scientific direction, strategy and operations and the furtherance of its scientific mission;
  • Provide reports of its meetings to the Trust and the Governance Committee of the Centre; and
  • Provide advice regarding the progress of the Centre’s scientific programme and its scientific direction, strategy, operations and mission to the Trust and the Governance Committee on an ad hoc basis on request from the Trust.

The ISAB comprises of members who will generally serve for three years, renewable at the discretion of the Trust in consultation with ISAB, the University and the Director of the Centre for a further three years.  Invitations to join ISAB and any letters of appointment or removal are issued by the Director at the direction of the Trust. Members serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of the organisations by whom they are employed, engaged or with whom they are associated.

Our International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) members are:

Click on the links below to view each member's profile.

Janet Derbyshire   

Alex Welte 

Carolyn Williamson

Paul Kellam 

Wafaa El Sadr 

Myron Cohen 

Yogan Pillay 

James Hakim

Moffat Nyirenda 

Inge Petersen 

Gerald Friedland 

Medical Advisory Board

Our Clinical Operations Platform is advised by a Medical Advisory Board who meet quarterly. This committee comprises of local, district, and provincial senior medical professionals as well as leading KwaZulu-Natal based health specialists whose expertise are directly related to the development of the clinical scientific strategy of the Centre.

The objectives of the Medical Advisory Board are to:

  1. Give advice and counsel regarding the Africa Centre for Population Health clinical research strategy.
  2. Provide guidance to ensure the Africa Centre clinical research strategy is aligned and responsive to research priorities in South Africa – principally KwaZulu-Natal.
  3. Facilitate engagement with Department of Health (DoH) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Clinical Medicine, and clinical research and health service management structures.
  4. Afford guidance and recommendations pertaining to the required clinical engagement strategy with health services and facilities to support the development of a high quality primary health care (PHC) research environment at Africa Centre for Population Health. 

Click on links below to view Member's Profile

Richard Hift 

Jonathan Burns

Moherndran Archary 

Hoosen (Jerry) Coovadia

Mahomed Moosa

Bernhard Gaede

Ayesha Ahmed Motala

Ncoza Dlova

Neil Moran

Hervey Williams

Martin Tshipuk

Elizabeth Lutge

The Chief Operations Officer, Mr Lawrence Nachito is responsible for the Operations. In 2014/15 Africa Centre for Population Health has strengthened operations by employing heads and managers of corporate sections to provide efficient science support.

Our organisational plan for 2016-2021