Professor Shabir Madhi has been appointed Executive Director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) as of 1 April 2011. Prof Madhi held the position of Professor of Vaccinology in the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences and is co-director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) – Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit. Professor Madhi also holds the Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation South African Research Initiative Chair in Vaccine Preventable Disease. In addition, he is president of the World Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases and a founding-member of the Southern African Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases.
Professor Madhi is an international leader in his field and as such has been awarded an A-rating by the National Research Foundation (NRF). Professor Madhi has been involved in research on vaccine preventable diseases for the past 13 years and has contributed to over 110 publications, including many in leading international peer-reviewed journals.
His research career has focused upon reducing morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases through vaccination. This research, of critical importance to South African children, has included studies on newly developed vaccines designed to prevent the two leading causes of death in children, namely pneumonia and diarrhoeal disease.
The research is the first to demonstrate in Africa that childhood morbidity can be significantly reduced with pneumococcal-conjugate and rotavirus vaccines. These findings were published in the highest ranking medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine, and have helped inform WHO recommendations on the use of these vaccines in Africa and countries across the globe. The research has also contributed to South Africa being the first in Africa to introduce these vaccines into the public immunisation programme, which is anticipated to reduce childhood mortality in South Africa by 10-15%.
Professor Madhi has won several awards for his work. Recent recognition includes an National Research Foundation(NRF) President's Award: Transformation of the Science Cohort, which was presented to him for his outstanding role in addressing the challenge of encouraging more women and black scientists to advance to world-class research performance.