A UKZN researcher based at the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD) in Westville campus, has been selected as a member of an international health institute. Dr Gavin George, Programme Leader for Health Systems Strengthening at HEARD, was appointed network member of the Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI).

The OGHI is a flagship institute of the Otago University in New Zealand and its purpose is to contribute to solving global health problems by fostering partnerships with research institutions and organisations in lower-resourced countries. The Institute’s work is to support improvements in health and wellbeing through partnership with researchers and organisations working to solve global health problems. Its aim is to contribute to solving the most pressing health problems identified by partners in low- and middle- income countries by combining knowledge and skills in multidisciplinary partnerships with researchers across the University of Otago.  Only a handful of members from outside the University are also selected.

Jacqui Hadingham, OGHI Research Centre Manager said George was selected because of his expertise in health economics, an uncommon skillset within the OGHI network. “He is also an experienced researcher in the field of HIV, which is a health issue with wide-ranging impacts in many developing countries,” she said.

George becomes the first African-based network member of the Institute which whilst focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, has a global mandate. The association will provide opportunities to collaborate with international researchers from a multitude of disciplines under the umbrella of global health, facilitated through this flagship institute.  George said he was delighted to have been invited and it is an honor to be associated with the institute. “I’m confident it will provide opportunities to undertake cutting-edge research alongside internationally recognised colleagues. I fully expect that this association will contribute to academic and scientific progress within the field of global health. I intend to explore opportunities for UKZN colleagues to link with academics at the institute, in an effort to broaden the network and maximize the benefit of this association.”