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There is a need to foster the next generation of clinical researchers in South Africa who will follow through and build upon the critical scientific work being done.

At the PHRU, our succession plan is to invest in promising new scientific investigators by identifying, training, mentoring and exposing them to valuable career opportunities. This is so that we can retain and sustain high quality researchers who will serve the health research needs of South Africa and the world.

Our Publications Coaching Programme, launched on 11/11/11, is an innovative formal scientific writing programme founded by Dr Fatima Laher, Dr Janan Dietrich and Kennedy Otwombe and receives assistance from Tracey Heritage (Wits Health Consortium Human Resources General Manager). Clinical science writing expertise is provided by Dr Fatima Laher who is a medical researcher. Dr Janan Dietrich, a sociobehavioural scientist, coaches on social health science writing. Kennedy Otwombe, senior biostatistician, provides statistical analysis coaching to the programme.

The Programme provides promising new investigators with a year of scientific writing coaching through teaching modules on the theory of scientific writing with concurrent publication writing guided by an assigned coach. The aims are to build capacity, pass on skills pertinent to a research environment, increase publication output, inspire scientific curiosity and develop a succession line of new scientists.

The programme has in the past received part-funding from SPARC and the Canadian African Prevention Trials Network. Read more about the programme in Dietrich J, Otwombe K, Heritage T, Coetzee J, Lazarus E, Meyer Z, Laher F. Nurturing a new generation of scientific writers in Soweto, South Africa. Open Medicine 2013;7(3 Suppl):s63.

At the sixth anniversary of the Programme, we celebrate our accomplished alumni who have published important science:

  • Dr Limakatso Lebina, Class of 2012

13 Pubmed-listed publications so far; her first ever publication was written with the Publications Coaching Programme:
Lebina L, Laher F, Mukudu H, Essien T, Otwombe K, Gray G, Martinson N. Does routine prophylactic oral flucloxacillin reduce the incidence of post-circumcision infections? Am J Infect Control. 2013 Oct;41(10):897-900. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.12.015. Epub 2013 Mar 13. PubMed PMID: 23489735.

  • Dr Haseena Cassim, Class of 2014

5 Pubmed-listed publications so far; her first first-author publication was written with the Publications Coaching Programme:
Cassim H, Otwombe K, Lazarus E, Liberty A, Gray GE, Greeff OBW, Violari A. A retrospective case-cohort study comparing treatment outcomes in abacavir versus stavudine containing first line antiretroviral treatment regimens in children <3yrs old, at a paediatric programme based in Soweto, South Africa. PLoS One. 2017 Jul 7;12(7):e0180645. doi: 0.1371/journal.pone.0180645. eCollection 2017. PubMed PMID: 28686654; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5501584.

  • Stefanie Hornschuh, Class of 2014

4 Pubmed-listed publications so far; her publication written with the Publications Coaching Programme was:

Hornschuh S, Laher F, Makongoza M, Tshabalala C, Kuijper LDJ, Dietrich J. Experiences of HIV-positive adolescents and young adults in care in Soweto, South Africa. (2014) Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services, 13:4, 420-435, DOI: 10.1080/15381501.2013.804472

  • Kate Cerwensky, Class of 2013

3 Pubmed-listed publications so far; her first first-author publication was written with the Publications Coaching Programme:

Hopkins KL, Laher F, Otwombe K, Churchyard G, Bekker LG, DeRosa S, Nchabeleng M, Mlisana K, Kublin J, Gray G. Predictors of HVTN 503 MRK-AD5 HIV-1 gag/pol/nef vaccine induced immune responses. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 4;9(8):e103446. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103446. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25090110; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4121165.

  • Dr Hilary Mukhudu, Class of 2014

2 Pubmed-listed publications so far; his first first-author publication was written with the Publications Coaching Programme:
Mukudu H, Otwombe K, Laher F, Lazarus E, Manentsa M, Lebina L, Mapulanga V Bowa K, Martinson N. A Cross Sectional Study of the Prevalence of Preputial and Penile Scrotal Abnormalities among Clients Undergoing Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision in Soweto, South Africa. PLoS One. 2016 Jun 2;11(6):e0156265. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156265. eCollection 2016. PubMed PMID: 27253372; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4890756.

  • Dr Jesne Kistan, Class of 2015

2 Pubmed-listed publications so far; her publication with the Publications Coaching Programme was

Kistan J, Laher F, Otwombe K, Panchia R, Mawaka N, Lebina L, Diacon A, Kana B, Martinson N. Pulmonary TB: varying radiological presentations in individuals with HIV in Soweto, South Africa. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2017 Mar 1;111(3):132-136. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/trx028. PubMed PMID: 28633335.

  • Sakhile Mhlongo, Class of 2012

2 Pubmed-listed publications so far; his publication written with the Publications Coaching Programme was

Mhlongo S, Dietrich J, Otwombe KN, Robertson G, Coates TJ, Gray G. Factors associated with not testing for HIV and consistent condom use among men in Soweto, South Africa. PLoS One. 2013 May 16;8(5):e62637. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062637. Print 2013. PubMed PMID: 23696786; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3656000.

HIV Care & Treatment for Infants and Children

PHRU has been at the forefront of paediatric treatment in South Africa since we hosted our first trials in 1996. In 2001, PHRU established a treatment access programme to continue the care for children who were completing their enrollment in research studies and those who failed to meet eligibility criteria to enroll in trials. Since then, every day our staff sees patients at the Paediatric Wellness Clinic, a PEPFAR-funded state-of-the-art clinic situated at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital where we continue to offer care, treatment, and support to Sowetan children and their families.

The clinic is child-friendly with a fenced children’s playground, an immunization facility, early infant testing and developmental testing services.

Our Services

PHRU is committed to enhancing existing paediatric HIV-services and the Wellness Clinic provides comprehensive care and support for HIV-positive infants and children including:

  • Clinical care
  • ART rollout
  • Clinical and immunological monitoring
  • Provision of opportunistic infection prophylaxis
  • Appropriate management and referrals of children with acute illness
  • Screening for and diagnosis of tuberculosis
  • Monitoring of developmental milestones and growth
  • Relevant referrals to occupational therapists and dieticians
  • Assessment of social problems with referrals

Visit us

Paediatric Wellness ClinicGround Floor, New Nurses Home
Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

Tel: 011 989 9726

08h00-16h00 , Monday to Friday

HIV Care & Treatment for Adults

Nearly a decade before antiretrovirals (ARVs) were publicly available in South Africa, PHRU began providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) by engaging in clinical trial research while actively seeking funding for treatment access programmes. Today, while ARVs are provided through the public sector, South Africa is nonetheless faced with an overburdened public health system and limitations in the availability of and access to drugs. It is because of this that PHRU remains committed to supplementing government efforts while simultaneously searching for new and better ways to treat and care for those living with HIV.

Established as a PEPFAR site in 2004, PHRU has since been able to provide non-study-related HIV treatment and care to thousands of Sowetans, while collecting important data that will inform future treatment strategies. The programme also offers psychosocial support to patients and their families as well as pre-treatment and ongoing treatment adherence counseling. As an initiation site, the Adult Treatment Access Programme’s aim is to begin patients on ARVs and later transfer those that are stable to their local clinics for ongoing care and support.

The Adult Treatment Access Programme follows the South African Government Management and Treatment Plan for HIV and AIDS for Children and Adults and provides its clients the standard registered drugs available in South Africa.

Our Services

The Adult Treatment Access Program serves to complement the South African government’s ART programme providing care and treatment to HIV-infected adults. The programme provides ART monitoring and support for HIV-1 infected living in Soweto who meet the country guidelines for treatment, as well as those whose funding for treatment in other PHRU programmes or participation in PHRU-conducted clinical trials has ended. 

Visit us

PEPFAR Adult Treatment Access Programme
Ground Floor, New Nurses Home
Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

Tel: 011 9899706
Fax: 011 9899050

24-hour patient hotline: 073 4023464

07h30 – 4h00, Monday to Friday

Empowering, Confidential, Youth Friendly Clinic

Adolescents have special healthcare needs and face complex challenges to their health and development that they are often reluctant to address. In response, PHRU established Kganya Motsha (meaning “Shine Young Ones” in SeSotho) to provide services that would be sensitive to adolescents’ various stages of development. The dedicated adolescent clinic aims to:

  • Significantly reduce the incidence rates of HIV amongst adolescents through education, prevention and treatment strategies.

  • Meet the needs and fulfil the rights of adolescents.

Our Services

Situated in the heart of Kliptown, Soweto, Kganya Motsha works toward these goals by offering free, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services to adolescents (aged 14 to 24 years). Kganya Motsha’s friendly and welcoming staff provides:

  • Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT)

  • STI education, prevention and treatment

  • HIV education, prevention and counselling

  • Reproductive health services

  • Psychosocial evaluation and counselling

  • Treatment and supportive care

  • Peer mentoring

The clinic environment is safe and non-judgmental, staffed with people who recognize the special needs of adolescents transitioning from childhood to adulthood.

Our Research

While there is a great need to develop adolescent-specific health care services informed by cultural, socioeconomic, and structural issues; individual and societal needs; and the unique aspects of adolescent’s physical and psychological development, adolescents are often excluded from research. In addition to the care and support services Kganya Motsha provides, the centre is also supports a robust adolescent research programme.

Studies have explored HIV and STI prevention, counselling methods and attitudes, parent-adolescent communications and the effects of adult morbidity and mortality on household welfare and the well being of children. PHRU, together with our partners, developed the necessary ethical-legal framework for adolescent involvement in vaccine trials and, today, we pride ourselves on being one of only two international sites involved in adolescent HIV vaccine preparatory work funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Our Approach

Kganya Motsha offers its services at the centre and in surrounding schools. It identifies and trains adolescents peer educators and utilizes local media and faith-based organizations to encourage teens and their parents to visit the centre. In addition, Kganya Motsha uses individual, group and community approaches to help build the skills of the adolescents it serves and has become widely known for its supportive services. Effective partnerships have been formed in schools around the Soweto area and with NGOs; government; and health, welfare, education and security departments.

Visit us

Kganya Motsha Adolesent CentreKliptown Medical Centre
Union Road

Tel: 011 945 6405

09h30 – 17h30 Monday to Friday
09h00 – 13h00 on Saturday

Call or walk-in for an appointment.

The Kganya Motsha Adolescent Centre is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).