2019 Winner of the Aubrey Sheiham Leadership Award announced

17 Oct 2019

Dr Marianne Visser has been announced as the 2019 winner of the prestigious Aubrey Sheiham Leadership Award by Cochrane. The award is managed by Cochrane South Africa (SA) and presented annually to an African researcher to support the conduct of a Cochrane Review focusing on a priority topic with impact on the health of people living in low- and middle-income countries. The winner is also expected to mentor a novice author from Africa during the review process and, in so doing, develop capacity in research synthesis on the continent.

The award includes attendance at an annual Cochrane Colloquium; costs of face-to-face meetings for the awardee and mentee; costs of travel for periods of dedicated work time; and a period of stay at Cochrane SA or another appropriate site to work on the review.

Dr Visser is from the Centre for Evidence Based Health Care at Stellenbosch University. The review she will undertake is titled: Agricultural and nutritional educational interventions for reducing aflatoxin exposure to improve infant and child growth in low- and middle-income countries.

“Conducting a systematic review can be an overwhelming experience for first-time review authors,” said Visser. “As a previous mentee of the Cochrane South Africa mentoring programme for HIV reviews, I feel honoured to receive this award and would like to acknowledge the late Prof. Aubrey Sheiham for recognising the value of learning partnerships in Africa through this award.” 
“I am pleased to be able to use this valuable opportunity to support Dr Chibundu N. Ezekiel,’ she continued. “Dr Ezekiel is a food microbiologist and well-recognised researcher and content expert in the field of mycotoxins, from Babcock University, Nigeria. He is currently conducting his first systematic review on the effects of educational interventions to reduce the aflatoxin exposure of infants and young children in low- and middle-income countries, on child growth.”

About the Aubrey Sheiham award 

Aubrey Sheiham was a dental epidemiologist who was inspired and encouraged by Archie Cochrane to question many of the practices in medicine and dentistry. His commitment was to improving the health of populations in underdeveloped countries and challenging dental establishments to be far more critical. The misuse of healthcare resources has more serious ethical and health implications in underdeveloped countries because resources for health are generally inadequate. Prof. Sheiham believed that supporting and training key health personnel in the concepts of Cochrane would improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health care. Since 2001, through Prof. Sheiham’s generosity, Cochrane researchers from low- and middle-income countries have been funded and supported to complete a Cochrane Review on a topic of relevance to their region, and to cascade knowledge about Cochrane and evidence-based health care to their local networks.
The evaluation panel for the award consists of the Senior Management Team of Cochrane South Africa.
Dr Sheiham passed away in November 2015.

This article was first published on the Cochrane South Africa website (October 2019) and is published here with kind permission from Cochrane South Africa.