UKZN Immunologist on MRC Board
UKZN Immunologist in the College of Health Sciences, Dr Zilungile Kwitshana, has been appointed to the Board of the South African Medical Research Council (MRC). The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, appointed Kwitshana along with 15 others to serve on the board for the next three years.
‘I am excited about the appointment, mostly because I have spent 14 years of my life at the MRC. For me, this is an opportunity to give back to the organisation that helped to mould me as a scientist,’ said Kwitshana.
The council’s mission is to improve the nation's health and quality of life through promoting and conducting relevant and responsive health research. Kwitshana is hopeful that she will contribute meaningfully towards MRC’s growth and its contribution towards a healthy nation.
As a Board Member, her duties will be to contribute towards overseeing the governance of the organisation and to make sure it adheres to its strategic plan for achieving its goals and mission.
She admitted it would be a challenging and worthwhile call for her to give back to the organisation that fostered her growth in the medical research field. At the same time, having had first-hand experience of the “old MRC” as an employee placed her at an advantage to help shape the “new MRC”.
‘We are joining the organisation at a critical time, when it has just been restructured. The former Board and the acting CEO have done all the restructuring work, now as the current Board, we have to carry on championing what they have started.
‘My family is excited about my appointment, yet concerned that it might further keep me away from them. Like academics who have to juggle their roles of teaching and learning, research, administration, community and so on, one is always on the run and my family see this as another responsibility that will keep me on the road.’
Kwitshana, a Lecturer at the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, is currently mentoring Masters and PhD emerging researchers, striving to ensure that research projects address the problems facing South African communities.
She also serves on the Charles James Hospital Board, is one of the Founders of the National Parasite Control Task Team of the National Department of Health and UKZN, is an Editorial Board Member of the International Journal of Maternal and Child Health and HIV and AIDS, and an External Clinical Reviewer for the Lancet Infectious Diseases, among other posts.
- Nombuso Dlamini