Professor Helen Rees receives the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award

09 June 2015
Michelle Moore

Congratulations, Professor Rees, on this significant honour in recognition of your work.

The founder and Executive Director of STRIVE’s partner Wits RHI has received the prestigious Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award for 2014.

The award

The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust’s premier award carries a monetary value of R1.5 million as an investment in excellence in all forms of scholarship. Granted to scholars of the highest calibre engaged in cutting-edge, internationally significant work, the grant seeks to advance knowledge, teaching, research and development in South Africa.

The recipient 

Professor Rees is:

Widely published and internationally renowned, Professor Rees is one of South Africa’s best known female scientists. She serves in leadership roles in both national and international structures and currently chairs the South Africa Medicines Control Council and various WHO committees including:

  • Working Group on Ebola Vaccines
  • International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Polio
  • African Technical Committee on Immunisation
  • WHO/PATH Committee on Maternal Influenza Immunisation

Sub-Saharan Africa is weighed down by the highest incidence of HIV in the world, and women comprise the majority of individuals infected with HIV (57%). Most of these (75%) are women aged 15-24. Prof Rees proposes to use the award to explore the increased risk of HIV infection among young women who use the injectable contraceptive DMPA, known generally as Depo Provera.