PHASA Profile

André van Zyl Photo

André van Zyl

Organisation: University of Pretoria Email: drevanzyl@gmail.com Executive Committee: SIGS Committee Executive Office: Executive Board Member

During the early stages of André’s career and studies in psychology, he started a small business making the internet more accessible to students living around his campus. After his studies in psychology, he moved to Cape Town where he worked in a treatment facility for people who are substance dependent.  He relocated to Pretoria where he worked at a centre providing therapy to children with developmental impairments. Concurrently, he also worked at an eLearning company implementing their solution in schools around South Africa. He became increasingly interested in the use of technology in health promotion and decided to pursue a career in public health. He is currently employed at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University as a research data manager.

André focused his undergraduate studies on psychology and sociology at the Nelson Mandela University. He continued to do an honours degree in psychology. He completed his Master’s in Public Health degree at the University of Pretoria in 2016. His research focused on the health education resources available to high school Life Orientation educators in Tshwane.

His interest in mental health and technology has been a theme throughout his career and he is hoping to do a PhD on the intersections of these topics. He cares about causes directed at improving maternal and child mental health. Much of André’s focus is on using mHealth solutions to support the implementation of projects relying on community health workers to provide health services. He loves working with open source analytics tools. He believes these tools should be more widely considered in public health activities because they are free, they have very supportive communities, and there is a wealth of high-quality online training resources dedicated to these tools.

His vision for PHASA is for the organisation to serve as a central body in South Africa to build the capacity of public health professionals and other organisations, including training institutions, to increase their impact in improving the lives of South Africans. He believes this could be done by forming strong relationships between organisations, knowledge sharing, and training. PHASA should assist its stakeholders in developing their leadership, management, advocacy, and research capabilities and their ability to engage with the general public.

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