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UKZN Best Women African Researcher Award for Obstetrics and Gynaecology



UKZN Best Women African Researcher Award for Obstetrics and Gynaecology

UKZN Best Women African Researcher Award for Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Professor Motshedisi Sebitloane, Head of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Discipline at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), was honored with the prestigious 2023 Best Women African Researcher Award in the Women’s Health category. Her remarkable achievement was recognized for her groundbreaking research focusing on women living with HIV and its impact on reproductive health.

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Research Findings

Professor Sebitloane’s research delved into the effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on women living with HIV (WLHIV). Her study revealed that despite being virally suppressed and maintaining good CD4 counts, a substantial number of these women exhibited anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) levels significantly lower than expected for their age. This discrepancy was observed even among those still experiencing regular menstrual cycles. Furthermore, prolonged HAART usage was correlated with diminished AMH levels, leading to a prevalence of premature menopause in WLHIV more than three times higher than the general population.

Significance of the Study

The study underscores the importance of understanding the reproductive health implications for WLHIV, especially considering the high prevalence of HIV in South Africa. By shedding light on the relationship between HAART treatment and ovarian reserve, Professor Sebitloane’s research addresses a critical gap in existing literature and highlights the necessity for tailored healthcare interventions in this population.

Recognition and Awards

The accolade was conferred during the Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit (MARS), held in collaboration with esteemed partners such as the African Union Scientific Technical Research Commission and Manipal University, India. Professor Sebitloane’s achievement was celebrated alongside five other distinguished researchers from various African countries, amidst a competitive pool of over 150 submissions.


In acknowledgment of her exemplary contributions to women’s health research and maternal healthcare provision in KwaZulu-Natal, Professor Sebitloane’s accolade also includes a Merck scholarship. This scholarship will support her pursuit of a postgraduate diploma in healthcare leadership, further empowering her to drive impactful change within her field

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