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Dr Mosa Moshabela.

UKZN’s Department of Rural Health, the first in South Africa, recently appointed Dr Mosa Moshabela as its Head and Chief Specialist.  Moshabela’s brief is to drive the vision of the Discipline which is to build academic scholarship that promotes use of trans-disciplinary evidence, knowledge and experience in the complex and under-resourced field of rural health.  

Over the years Moshabela has led the process in which several clinical and lay health care programmes as well as research projects were translated into a number of scientific publications. His PhD investigated rural health care systems and user behaviour in South Africa, with special reference to equity, access and utilisation patterns for rural patients seeking and using antiretroviral treatment. 

 He was recently awarded a prestigious Discovery Foundation Academic Fellowship Award to support his career development as a clinical specialist in pursuit of a research scientist career.  

‘Our vision is to anchor the Discipline of Rural Health at UKZN, by building academic scholarship that promotes use of trans-disciplinary evidence, knowledge and experience in the complex and under-resourced field of rural health. The great potential for academia to provide solutions for the problems in our society today is limited by the tradition of working in silos, when problems in our communities are not discipline-bound.’ 

Moshabela stressed the importance of innovative trans-disciplinary thinking, training and working across disciplines which are urgently needed to systematically address social determinants of health and health inequities in order to uplift health and wellbeing, particularly at the margins of the health care system. 

‘I hope to contribute to the transformation of rural health through the creation of platforms to achieve rural academic excellence, and more specifically to build scholarship in the trans-disciplinary field of rural health and development.’ 

Moshabela was previously the Regional Health Advisor for the Millennium Villages in West and Central Africa, based at the Millennium Development Goal Centre in Mali/Senegal. Also affiliated to the Earth Institute at Columbia University in the United States as a Public Health Specialist, he lead a team of technical experts to support implementation of programmes in Nutrition, Child health, Maternal health, and Malaria, HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis sub-sectors, relevant to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health.