Helen Rees

Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute
South Africa

Steering Committee Member
Working Group Member

Professor Helen Rees is Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, where she is also an ad hominem Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Co-Director of the Wits African Leadership in Vaccinology Excellence Flagship programme. She is an Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an Honorary Fellow at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University. Recently, in March 2020, she had an honorary degree of Doctor of Science (Medicine) conferred on her by the University of London. She is internationally renowned for her research and policy work in HIV, Vaccines and reproductive health. She has received numerous national and international awards for her contribution to science and to the South African, African and global health sectors. She is an Officer of the British Empire awarded for her contribution to global health and received the Order of the Baobab, one of South Africa’s highest honours, for her contribution to the health of women and children. She has chaired many national and international committees and is currently chair of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, chair of the WHO’s African Regional Immunisation Technical Advisory Group, chair of WHO’s Emergency Committee on Polio and chair of WHO’s Working Group on Ebola vaccines. She chairs the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) Programme and Policy Committee and serves on the Gavi Board and also chairs the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI)’s Scientific Advisory Committee and serves on CEPI’s Board. During the time of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, she has been appointed onto several national and international Committees. WHO appointed her as a member of the IHR Emergency Committee on COVID-19 and the South African Government appointed Helen on several Ministerial Committees that inform the Health Minister, namely, the Research Team, the Therapeutics Team, the Incident Management Team and the National Essential Medicine Therapeutics Sub-Committee for COVID-19.

Coalition working group:
Maternal, Newborn & Child Health