Professor Sabiha Essack

Prof Sabiha Essack (B. Pharm., M. Pharm., PhD) served as Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences for 10 years (2005-14) followed by a year as the College Dean of Teaching and Learning (2015).  Professor Essack is co-founder of the South African Committee of Health Sciences Deans and served as its Chair from inception for a period of 5 years.  She served on the WHO’s Technical Working Group on Health Workforce Education Assessment Tools, is an elected member of the Council of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAf) and a peer-reviewed member of the Southern Africa FAIMER Regional Institute (SAFRI) community. Currently she  is the South African Research Chair in Antibiotic Resistance and One Health and Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

She received several prestigious scholarships and bursaries from the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, National Research Foundation and the University of Durban-Westville during the course of her Masters and PhD studies.  Her research has been published in several journals and has been presented at a number of national and international conferences.

Professor Essack began her professional career with the B. Pharm degree in 1988 and practiced as a hospital pharmacist for three years within the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health before returning to the University of Durban-Westville in 1992 to pursue the M. Pharm degree.  She is a C-rated researcher by the NRF, has established the Antimicrobial Resistance Research Proto-Unit in the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and has secured several research grants for Essential National Health Research, from the World Health Organization, the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and the National Research Foundation investigating strategies for the prevention and containment of antibiotic resistance.

Professor Essack is president of the South African Chapter of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA), co-founder and chair of the South African Committee of Health Sciences Deans and a Ministerial appointee on the National Health Research Ethics Council 2010-12..  She serves on the Programme Accreditation Panel of the Council for Higher Education, she is a member of the National Antibiotic Surveillance Forum, the Federation of Infectious Diseases Societies of South Africa, the Islamic Medical Association and she has served on the National Executive of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa.

Professor Essack was appointed coordinator to the Africa Higher Education Collaborative, a 4-country Ford Foundation-funded initiative run by the Centre for the International Exchange of Scholars in the US, her leadership of which secured a £100 000 grant from the Mobilizing Regional Capacity Initiative Programme of the Association of African Universities to undertake research on “Access, Retention and Success in African Higher Education”.

Professor Sabiha Essack (B. Pharm., M. Pharm., PhD), Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) is the South African Research Chair in Antibiotic Resistance and One Health and a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow who completed research towards her PhD in Pharmaceutical Microbiology at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry in the United Kingdom. She received several prestigious scholarships and bursaries from the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council (MRC), the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the University of Durban-Westville during the course of her Masters and PhD studies.  Her research has been published in several journals and has been presented at a number of national and international conferences.

Professor Essack began her professional career with the B. Pharm degree in 1988 and practiced as a hospital pharmacist for three years in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health before returning to the University of Durban-Westville in 1992 to pursue the M. Pharm and PhD degrees. She is a C-rated researcher by the NRF, has established the Antimicrobial Research Unit at UKZN and has secured several research grants for Essential National Health Research, from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), MRC and the NRF investigating strategies for the prevention and containment of antibiotic resistance.

Professor Essack is expert consultant on antimicrobial resistance to the WHO Africa Office, founder and co-chair of the South African Chapter of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA), country representative on the Global Respiratory Infections Partnership (GRIP),  serves on the South African Chapter  of the Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership (GARP), the South African Antibiotic Stewardship Programme, WHO’s Technical Working Group on Health Workforce Education Assessment Tools,  and is co-founder of the South African Committee of Health Sciences Deans.  She is a Ministerial appointee on the Board of the Office of Health Standards Compliance, an elected member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAf), a peer-reviewed member of the Southern Africa FAIMER Regional Institute (SAFRI) community, member of the Bio-economy Heath Innovation Sector Coordination Committee of the Department of Science and Technology.  She previously served as Ministerial appointee on the National Health Research Ethics Council, as well as on the national Department of Health, on the National Executive of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa, the Professional Body Reference Group of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Programme Accreditation Panel and Standards Development Reference Group of the Council for Higher Education (CHE).

Professor Essack is Associate Editor of the South African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection, serves on the Editorial Board of the African Journal of Microbiology Research, frequently reviews papers for several international journals as well as research proposals and rating applications for the FP7 Programme, the MRC and the NRF and is a member of the Society for Clinical Microbiology and the Federation of Infectious Diseases Societies of South Africa.

Researchgate Profile

Professor Essack’s current research areas include:

  • Evidence-informed strategies for the prevention and containment of antibiotic resistance based on:
    • the surveillance of antibiotic use and resistance in human, animal and environmental heath (One Health),
    • Risk factors for the infection/colonization by antibiotic resistant bacteria,
    • Infection control, and,
    • Antibiotic pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
  • Molecular epidemiology of antibiotic resistance.
  • Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of antibiotic resistance, including but not limited to antibiotic resistance genes, genetic determinants of resistance and clonality.
  • Virulence factors and their associated genetic determinants in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • ESKAPE pathogens

Health policy and health systems strengthening to optimize the management of infections in the context of antibiotic resistance and stewardship.

Efficacy and safety of new potential antibiotic moieties