Helen Rees

Executive Director
Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, University of Witwatersrand

South Africa
Professor Helen Rees is one of South Africa’s best-respected clinician-scientists and is internationally renowned for her research and policy work in HIV, vaccines, reproductive health and drug regulation. She is founder and Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (Wits RHI) which is the University of Witwatersrand’s largest research institution. She is also Personal Professor in the Wits Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Wits African Leadership In Vaccinology Excellence (ALIVE). Helen is an Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases, an Honorary Fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University (UK) and an alumnus of Harvard Business School (USA). Helen’s global reputation has meant that many international global health organisations have recruited her to serve on and/or chair international scientific committees and Boards. In South Africa Helen Chairs the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority Board, co-chairs the SA Health Data Advisory and Coordination Committee, is a member of SA’s National Advisory Group on Immunization, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the SA National Institute of Communicable Diseases. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Helen has been appointed to several South African Ministerial Committees that inform the Minister of Health on COVID-19 matters, namely the Research Team, Therapeutics Team and the National Essential Medicine Therapeutics Sub-Committee and most recently the COVID-19 Vaccines Committee. She has been Chair of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Emergency Committee on Polio since 2014. Helen has made many scientific strategic and policy contributions to the African region. She currently Chairs the WHO’s African Regional Task Force on Immunization. She Co-Chair’s the WHO Working Group on Ebola Vaccines and is a member of the WHO’s IHR Emergency Committee on Ebola. Helen Chaired the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization for many years, which is WHO’s overarching global advisory committee for vaccines and immunisation. She has recently been appointed to the SAGE Working Group COVID-19 Vaccine Committee as well as onto the WHO IHR Emergency Committee for COVID-19. She is a member of the Facilitation Committee in the COVID19 Clinical Research Coalition. Helen Chairs the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) Programme and Policy Committee and serves on the Gavi Board and Chairs the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI)’s Scientific Advisory Committee and serves on CEPI’s Board. She has received numerous national and international awards for her contribution to science and to the South African, African and global health sectors. Among these, 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.
Nov 2020 19 Nov 19.00- 20.15 (BKK) WS303 Assuring Equitable Access to COVID19 Vaccines, Treatments, & Health Resources