I am founding director of and professor at the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa (UWC). I am a specialist paediatrician with postgraduate qualifications in public health. I have been on the academic staff of the medical schools of the Universities of Zimbabwe and Natal, and have 30 years experience of health policy and programme development in Zimbabwe and South Africa. I have worked as a health advisor to OXFAM in Zimbabwe, and advised several governments as well as other non-government organisations and UN agencies in primary health care, child health and nutrition, and health human resources. I have published extensively in these fields as well as on the political economy of health, including on structural adjustment and development aid. I am internationally recognized as an advocate for primary health care and health equity in Africa.
Since I assumed the position of director, the school of public health at UWC has expanded from 2 to over 50 staff, with around 250 masters’ and 30 PhD students from about 20 African countries, an annual research income of approximately 20 million Rand, and a recently completed new building funded by a philanthropic foundation.
South African citizen. MB and ChB medical degrees at Birmingham, 1969. DCH Diploma in child health, 1972. MRCP Member of the Royal College of Physicians since 1974. DTPH Diploma in tropical public health, with credit. My thesis was titled The Underdevelopment of Health: a critique of Rhodesia’s Health Services. Completed joint courses in epidemiology and medical statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 1988.
Zimbabwe medical adviser to OXFAM 1980-1988, responsible for establishing and coordinating OXFAM’s health work in Zimbabwe. Have been successively lecturer, senior lecturer and then associate professor in the departments of paediatrics and child health, and of community medicine at the University of Zimbabwe. Am now Director of the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Bellville, South Africa, where I have worked since 1993. Deputy Dean of the faculty of community and health sciences at UWC, 2000-2003.
Recent appointments also include the following. Heath Clark visiting lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2004-2005. Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2005-2007. Adjunct Professor at the Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, 2005-2009. Visiting Fellow at the Globalization/Management Department, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Canada, 2005. Member of the Steering Committee of the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition, 2002-2006. Member of the Knowledge Network of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health.
I am a long-standing member of the People’s Health Movement (PHM) and am a member of its global steering council, and managing editor of the its Global Health Watch 2.
Member of committees advising South African provincial and national ministers of health, 1994-1996 and 2010 respectively. Principal investigator and senior medical consultant to UNICEF and the South African Department of Health nutrition directorate for the project: Capacity Development of Medical Doctors and Senior Managers in South Africa for the Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition, 2009-2010. Consultant to World Vision International on briefing paper : ‘The missing link: saving children’s lives through family and community care’, for UN General Assembly Summit on Progress towards Millennium Development Goals, New York, September 2010
Am frequently invited as a plenary speaker at national and international scientific meetings and have made over 250 invited presentations. Examples: WHO-convened 20th anniversary of Alma Ata Conference, 1998; Congress of World Federation of Public Health Associations, 2009; Congress of Federation of European Societies of Tropical Medicine and International Health, 2009; European Commission Conference on Global Health, 2010.
Co-author of various books and monographs. These include the following. The Struggle for Health: Medicine and the Politics of Underdevelopment. Macmillan, 1985. Reprinted five times up to 1992. Questioning the Solution: the Politics of Primary Health Care and Child Survival. HealthWrights. Palo Alto CA, 1997. Fatal Indifference: The G8, Africa and Global Health. University of Cape Town Press, 2004. Socioeconomic Stress, Health and Child Nutritional Status in Zimbabwe at a Time of Economic Structural Adjustment A three year longitudinal study, Research Report No. 105, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala, 1998. Child Health and Poverty, Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre (CHIP) Report no. 10, Save the Children UK, 2004.