Nine medical experts from Kwazulu-Natal are part of the high-level Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) which was formed to help steer government’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Sunday Tribune reports. Chaired by Professor Salim Abdool Karim, the MAC consists of 51 distinguished epidemiologists, pathologists and other medical experts who meet regularly to discuss possible measures which they think government should take. Each member acts in their individual capacity and without remuneration.
Abdool Karim said the MAC looked at best methods of controlling and mitigating the outbreak through physical distancing measures, testing strategies, contact tracing, business closures and the national lockdown. The research sub-committee of MAC reviews pathogens, clinical modelling, disease modelling and public health interventions. He said the MAC also conceptualised strategies to raise awareness and provide analysis of the economic impact of the virus on the health system.
The report says Abdool Karim is widely respected and known as director of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa (Caprisa). Also on MAC is his wife, professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, an infectious disease epidemiologist and associate scientific director of Caprisa.
The MAC is further broken down into four sub-groups, the report says. UCT’s Professor Marc Mendelson heads the clinicians’ group, Wits University’s Professor Shabir Madhi heads the public health group. The president and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council, Professor Glenda Gray, heads up the research group.
Professor Koleka Mlisana chairs the pathologists’ and laboratory group. She served as head of UKZN’s medical microbiology department for many years. She currently serves as executive manager for academic affairs, research and quality assurance for the National Health Laboratory Service.
Professor Nombulelo Magula, the head UKZN’S internal medicine department serves on the MAC as an internal medicine specialist and clinical researcher in the clinician’s and Yunus Moosa is an associate professor, chief specialist and head of the department of infectious diseases at UKZN. He serves on the clinicians sub-committee of the MAC.
Professor Prakash Jeena is the head of the clinical paediatrics and child health department at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital where they have set up services to care for seriously ill children and adults with COVID-19.
Chief specialist and head of UKZN’S anaesthesiology and critical care department, Dr Dean Gopalan, serves on the clinician’s and research groups of the MAC. He is also president of the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa and president of the College of Anaesthetists of South Africa.
Dr Moherndran Archary is a paediatric infectious disease specialist in the paediatrics and child health department at King Edward VIII Hospital. He also serves on the clinician’s and research sub-committee of the MAC and is actively involved with the management of children with HIV within South Africa.
Dr Silingene Joyce Ngcobo is a community and primary healthcare nurse from UKZN’S discipline of nursing. She serves on the clinician’s sub-committee of the MAC.
Full Sunday Tribune report (subscription needed)