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Renowned Wits academic to lead World Federation of Public Health Associations

Professor Laetitia Rispel of the University of the Witwatersrand has become the first African woman to be elected President of the World Federation of Public Health Association (WFPHA).

The WFPHA is an international, nongovernmental organisation composed of over 100 associations members representing around five millions public health professionals worldwide.

“I am passionate about advocating health equity, which must be a centrepiece of all disease control priorities or health service delivery strategies," Prof Rispel said. "My own research on human resources for health will constitute an important part of my activities.

Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has congratulated Prof Rispel on her appointment, saying she has been an important ambassador of science for South Africa in the global arena.

"We are proud of her work as a researcher and professor of public health policy and delighted that she is bearing the torch for the leadership of women to be recognised. She is an inspiration to many young and aspiring public health professionals, and women in general. We wish her well in her tenure as president."

A former Dean of Wits' School of Public Health, Prof Rispel currently holds the DST/ NRF SARChI Chair entitled Research on the Health Workforce for Equity and Quality, at Wits. She has over 30 years’ experience in public health, research, teaching, strategy, health policy, leadership and executive management.

Prof Rispel has 92 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, technical reports, editorials and non-peer-reviewed or popular articles publications in this field. She has served on high-level Health Ministerial committees and provided expert technical support towards transformation in the health sector in South Africa. This has ranged from an analysis of the overall performance of the health system to designing an early warning system for quality of care.

WFPHA’s mission is to promote and protect global public health by supporting the establishment and organisational development of public health associations and societies of public health, through facilitating and supporting the exchange of information, knowledge and the transfer of skills and resources. The organisation also promotes and advocates for public policies, programmes and practices that will result in a healthy and productive world.

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