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Appointment of new Executive Director


Prominent South African researcher to head Global Forum for Health Research

Geneva, 23 October 2022 - The Foundation Council of the Global Forum for Health Research today announced the appointment of Anthony Mbewu BA MBBS FRCP MD FMASSAf as its new Executive Director as of January 2010.

Professor Mbewu is currently President of the Medical Research Council of South Africa (MRC). He is also Honorary Professor of Cardiology and Internal Medicine at the University of Cape Town and a Foreign Associate of the Institute of Medicine of the USA.

Professor Mbewu trained in medicine at Oxford and London universities, qualifying in 1983. He subsequently trained as a specialist in cardiology and in general medicine at the University of Manchester whilst also conducting a research doctorate in preventive cardiology on ‘lipoprotein(a) in coronary heart disease’. On returning to South Africa in 1994, he was appointed Consultant Cardiologist in the Cardiac Clinic of the Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town. In 1996 he became Executive Director for Research at the MRC and its President and Chief Executive Officer in 2005.

In 2003 he chaired the Task team that developed South Africa’s Comprehensive Care, Management and Treatment for HIV and AIDS programme that has enrolled 871 914 patients on antiretroviral therapy.

Internationally, Professor MBewu is known for his work as co-chair of the Inter-Academy Medical Panel (a body that represents 66 of the world’s medical academies). He has served as a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of TDR (UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases), has often served as a technical adviser to WHO and was a member of the Director-General’s External Reference Group for a Research Strategy for WHO.

He is currently Vice-Chair of the Board of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance); a member of the Strategy Working Group of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease; US National Institutes of Health; a trustee of Bioventures (South Africa’s only biotechnology venture capital fund); director of Linsela Investments (a social entrepreneurship company); a member of the Advisory Committee for FIND Diagnostics; of the Board of the African Clinical Research Organisation; and a member of the Taskforce for the African Network for Drug and Diagnostics Development (ANDI).

The Chair of the Foundation Council, Dr Gill Samuels CBE, was enthusiastic in making the announcement. “Tony Mbewu is an outstanding individual who brings scientific rigour, good managerial practices and an understanding of policy formulation that will help translate the strategy of the Global Forum for Health Research into concrete action and results. I am delighted that we will bring a scientist from an innovative developing country to help focus on health equity and the health needs of the poor and marginalized.”

Professor Mbewu expressed his pleasure at taking up this new challenge. “I have been working with the Global Forum for several years already, since 2007 as a member of the Foundation Council, so I am aware of the importance of its objectives. In this period of economic restraint, it is all the more important to prioritize research and innovation that will truly lead to improvements in health. In particular, the growing interest in global health and health research makes it feasible to envisage a world in which all the world’s people share equitably in the gains in health and well being that people in high income countries derived over the past half century.”

Professor Mbewu will succeed Professor Stephen Matlin who retires at the end of 2009. Dr Samuels, on behalf of the Foundation Council, warmly thanked Professor Matlin for his substantial contribution to the Global Forum and the leadership that he has demonstrated over the past six years.

Media contact:
Natalie Boudou T +41 791 6072