One of South Africa’s leading scientists, Dr Kogie Naidoo has been awarded the prestigious Outstanding Female Scientist Prize presented by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).
The EDCTP is a research programme of the European Union.
The Outstanding Female Scientist Prize is awarded every year to the world-leading women scientists in sub-Saharan Africa working on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected infectious diseases.
The presentation was made at the 11th EDCTP Forum at the Palais des Congrès de Paris in Paris, France this week.
Naidoo received the award for her seminal scientific contributions on the treatment of patients with tuberculosis and HIV co-infection that has shaped local and international treatment guidelines.
On receiving the award, she said that she was “honoured and deeply humbled to receive this award, which serves as an inspiration to women scientists in Africa”.
“As I have extended my research to diagnosing and treating multi-drug resistance TB, I have seen how investing in science is creating a healthy future for poor nations in supporting equitable access to life saving drugs and health care,” she said.
Born in Durban, Naidoo is the Deputy Director and Head of the TB-HIV Treatment Research Programme at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (Caprisa), and honorary associate Professor in the College of Health Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
She has made major contributions to Aids care and treatment in southern Africa. Her research has focussed on reducing mortality in TB-HIV co-infection, immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome, additive drug toxicity and drug interactions; the outcomes of which have shaped local and international clinical and policy guidelines.
Naidoo is leading a consortium on evaluating new diagnostics for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. She is also working on various projects to increase treatment adherence.
She currently is the lead Investigator of the EDCTP funded multi-country Triage Test for All Oral DR-TB Regimen — known as the TRiAD Study — which has been instrumental in establishing alliances and collaborative research networks within and between sub–Saharan African countries and establishing key European research partnerships.
This strategy clinical trial is contributing to enhancing and improving DR-TB diagnosis and treatment outcomes.
Naidoo has led and pioneered several research initiatives adopted by the South African National Department of Health, impacting sustained health systems strengthening and development.
These include the PEPFAR-funded programme of nurse-initiated ARV treatment and strategies for TB-HIV integration, strengthening advanced clinical care delivery for HIV, and TB-HIV co-infected persons, including a Comprehensive Advanced Clinical Care Training curriculum.
This training programme adopted by the SA National Department of Health remains a key resource for building capacity among frontline healthcare workers in managing complex TB/HIV cases.
“Dr Naidoo is among South Africa’s most accomplished medical scientists playing a leading role in tuberculosis research,” said Professor Salim Abdool Karim, director of Caprisa.
“Her seminal findings have had a direct impact on saving the lives of patients with HIV-TB co-infection, and the treatment approach for HIV-TB co-infection in almost all countries in the world draws upon her research.”
She was recently inducted as a member of the Royal Society of South Africa and is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Naidoo serves on the WHO HIV Clinical Guideline Committee, the National Institutes of Health’s (in the US) ACTG TB Transformative Science Group, the South African National TB Think Tank and the National Drug resistance TB Clinical Advisory Committee.