Prof Phaswana-Mafuya becomes one of the few qualified female black epidemiologists

“Prof Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya, who is one of the University of Venda Council members has once again done us proud when she obtained her MSc in epidemiology, a scarce skills area in many parts of the world. Coupled with her doctoral degree, this makes her a rare skill on the African continent”, said the University of Venda’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Peter Mbati.

Prof Phaswana-Mafuya completed an MSc Epidemiology in 2016 with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, sponsored by the Africa London Nagasaki Scholarship Fund. Her programme covered modules in Advanced Statistical Methods in Epidemiology, Statistical Methods in Epidemiology, Epidemiology of Communicable Diseases and Epidemiology of Non Communicable Diseases. The qualification will be conferred at a graduation ceremony that will take place in March 2017. She was one of five candidates selected for this fellowship out of 480 applicants from 26 African countries. Additionally, she was supported by the Wellcome Trust Fellowship through an unprecedented fellowship and the National Research Incentive Funding for rated scientists towards her Epidemiology training.

Prof Phaswana-Mafuya said “It has been a distinct blessing to study this important course at this eminent university and supported by such a prestigious fellowship.

The MSc Epidemiology synchronizes well with the HIV/AIDS and noncommunicable diseases epidemiological studies that I have been leading and co-leading for over 10 years. I can express without fear of contradiction that the LSHTM trains world class epidemiologists in the best way. I thank God for affording me this opportunity of a lifetime to become one of the few qualified female black epidemiologists in my country – Higher than the human mind can reach, is God’s ideal for His children”.

“I am also humbled to be part of LSHTM Alumni Association, providing me with a lifelong link to LSHTM. For me what remains is to use the insights I have gained in this course to continue to produce high quality epidemiological research for the betterment of my society and to continue to serve as a role model to aspiring scientists, especially women scientists from disadvantaged backgrounds like me”.

“Epidemiology is the key discipline underlying medical research, public health practice and health care evaluation. The understanding of its principles and practice is crucial for those involved in the design or assessment of epidemiological studies and programme evaluation. Epidemiological methods are also used to describe the size and nature of health problems, to investigate the aetiology of specific diseases, and to evaluate the impact of interventions for treating and preventing ill health.”

Prof Nancy (Refilwe) Phaswana-Mafuya, is a long serving Research Director (2006 to date) in the HIV/AIDS/STI/TB (HAST) Research Programme of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Honorary Professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (2009 to date). She obtained her research master’s degree (MASW) in 1998 and her PhD (Injury Prevention) in 2002 at the University of the North. She is a C2 rated National Research Foundation (NRF) health behavioral scientist and the Academy of Science in South Africa merited scientist, who has been working on HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases for over 10 years with a publication record of over 85 journal articles in nationally and internationally accredited journals, book on non-communicable diseases, several book chapters and many scientific reports. She also obtained the HSRC CEO award in 2012 (among others) for exemplary, innovative and high quality work. In the quest to enhance her science career. Prof Phaswana-Mafuya also completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Epidemiology in 2013 (involved Statistics in Computing, Practical Epidemiology and Fundamentals of Epidemiology, among others.

“The London School of Hygiene &Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is widely recognised as a world-leading school of public and global health. The School is committed to supporting health professionals, practitioners, policy-makers, clinicians and scientists who want to obtain a world-class qualification in public health and tropical medicine, no matter where they are in the world”.

Issued by: Department of Communications and Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: 015 962 8525
Date: 09 January 2017

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