A budget of over R11billion rand a year will become the
responsibility of a former Wits student.
Dr Trevor Mundel has been announced as president of the
global health programme for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mundel graduated from Wits with a BSc, BSc honours and a
medical degree. He was also a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford and
has a PhD in mathematics from the University of Chicago.
The Gates Foundation, co-chaired by Bill Gates and his wife
Melinda, is a global charity organisation which focuses largely on health and
education. It provides funding to programmes such as research into new vaccines
and scholarships for students who come from poverty.
Mundel’s appointment was announced on September 13 and he
will take up his new position on December 1.
Prof Helen Laburn, deputy vice chancellor of research at
Wits, said Mundel’s appointment was an indication that Wits’s medical and other
health sciences degrees “set them up for really important, responsible and
influential positions on the global stage”.
Laburn said she remembers him as “a quiet, unassuming but
very bright student”.
The global health programme funds advances in science and
technology to save lives in developing countries. It aims to improve medical technology and supplies
at an affordable cost to these regions and focuses on the prevention and treatment of HIV
and Aids and malaria, among others.
As president of the programme Mundel will oversee a yearly
budget of over R11.4-billion. To date, the health programme alone has awarded
about R111.7-billion in grants worldwide, over half of the total grants the
foundation has given.