Vanessa is an Antibiotic Resistance and ePatient Activist. She is also founder of #hcsmSA (Healthcare Communications and Social Media South Africa). #hcsmSA is a Twitter chat which Vanessa moderates to discuss Sustainable Health Development. hcsmSA also implemented the first CPD course in South Africa about ePatients accredited by SAMA and further provides training for the effective use of social media for healthcare where workshops have included at the NICD. (Read more: www.healthcaresocialmedia.co.za).
Before her advocacy, Vanessa was a creative director and advertising business owner for 18 years. Due to a severe car accident during 2004 in Johannesburg, she spent ten years in the medical system reconstructing damage caused to her face with a multi-disciplinary team which resulted in MRSA. In 2013, she combined her patient experience and creative skills to diversify her services by offering medical website design to HCP’s which included patient education resources like 3D animated videos because one of the greatest challenges she had was the lack of access to online specialists and information.
Vanessa is an advisor to The South African Antibiotic Stewardship Program (SAASP), ASPIRES (Antibiotic use across Surgical Pathways), EyeforPharma, InfectionControl.Tips and Doctors 2.0 and You, Paris. She was also a civil partner at the Women Advancement Forum Africa and is a member of The Walking Gallery of Health. She has been nominated for business achiever awards including the NSBC (National Small Business Chamber of Commerce – Entrepreneurs Section) and won the WOS – Woman of the Year Director’s Award in 2015. In 2018, she received a Tropics Magazine Top 200 African Changemakers Award and in 2019 she was awarded the Voices for Diagnosis FINDdx prize at the WHO World Health Assembly in recognition of her work in Antimicrobial Resistance.
Vanessa is also a Civil Society Champion at the Africa CDC, African Union for researchers working on the Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy in Africa. She has appeared as an ePatient guest for the NHS Digital Academy, was an accredited Social Media Ambassador for HIMSS17, USA, is currently an ePatient Scholar and alumni at Stanford University Medicine X in Silicon Valley, is co-chair of The Public Health Association of South Africa Health IT SIG, member of the Interaction Design Foundation and a patient reviewer for the BMJ. One of Vanessa’s major achievements was to help implement the Antibiotic Guardian Pledge Campaign in South Africa working alongside Prof. Adrian Brink, head of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at UCT which has been adopted by the National Health Department, the Federation of Infectious Diseases and SAASP. Take the pledge at www.antibioticguardian.com/south-africa.
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