Healthcare Social Media South Africa (#hcsmSA) and the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) have revealed the top five social media leaders who will be joining the inaugural Social Media Influencer Programme.

The programme aims to recognise local digital health leaders who have demonstrated a compelling passion for advancing healthcare using the web and social media.

“I am excited about how these vibrant social media influencers will be promoting equitable healthcare for all at the upcoming conference and beyond,”said PHASA President, André Rose.

As part of the programme, the digital leaders will receive mentorship and training to learn about the effective and ethical use of healthcare social media (hcsm) as well as receive recognition for their ambassadorial title.

The selected influencers will be awarded entrance to the 14th annual PHASA event taking place from 10 – 12 September 2018, where they’ll be using the hashtag #PHASA2018 to share highlights from the conference including key trends and topics.

The selected influencers include academics, nurses and health IT professionals. Here are the successful participants and their respective social media handles:

  • Michelle Matsangaise is a final year Masters in Public Health Pharmacy and Management student who uses social networks for research, dissemination of targeted public health information and to track vaccine-related content for research purposes. Matsangaise has co-authored and published review papers for the South African Pharmaceutical journal.
  • Dr Marietjie Botes is an attorney specialising in HealthCare and Life Sciences Law, and regularly presents on topics such as data sharing and privacy in context of European and South African privacy legislation. Dr Botes is passionate about genetic, genomic and stem cell research and has published widely on these topics. Her doctoral studies about informed consent for genomic research involving the San populations of southern Africa has won her research awards and resulted in visual communication tools to bridge scientific communication gaps.
  • Rene Sparks is a Clinical Manager at the Networking HIV/AIDS Community of South Africa (NACOSA), a registered nurse and a Masters in Public Health student. She is passionate about making an impact in South African health and civil society and is involved in various public and private health programmes including primary healthcare training, clinical support and community systems strengthening.
  • Isobel Ndoro is an ICT Consultant who holds a BSc Honours degree in Information Systems. In 2011 Ndoro was named Gijima Employee of the Month for contributing towards the strategic themes of the organisation, which included profitable growth, market leadership, service excellence and employer of choice when she was subcontracted as a project administrator for IT Internships. Ndoro is also passionate about the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment in health IT.
  • Blessed Tabvirwa is a Senior Programmer at MEDITECH South Africa and has extensive experience in the IT sector. He started his career as an intern developer/analyst in 2005 at Aerotel before joining MEDITECH where he continues to grow his passion for health technology. Tabvirwa holds a BSc Honours in Computer Science.

“It was a difficult undertaking to choose only five scholars from the many passionate applications we received for the first #PHASA2018 Social Media Influencer Programme,” said Founder of #hcsmSA and Stanford University Medicine X Scholar, Vanessa Carter.

“I feel honoured to be working with such a powerful and diverse group of individuals, each of them well-respected leaders in their own field, to help cultivate and amplify important conversations about this year’s theme at the Public Health Association of South Africa conference whose theme is Health for All,” concluded Carter.

A public Twitter chat open to all stakeholders will take place on the 4th of September using the hashtag #PHASA2018 to discuss various issues pertaining to Health for All and Sustainable Development in South Africa as a lead up to the conference which can be read here:

For more information about the influencer programme visit:

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