Dr Cheikh Faye will be awarded his PhD in public health from Wits University in December 2019.

A Wits alumnus has been appointed as the first director of the newly established the West Africa African Population Health and Resource Center (APHRC) in Dakar, Senegal in May 2019.

Dr Cheikh Faye, a graduate of the Wits School of Public Health, will head the APHRC, an organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya, since 2001 that focuses on health, education and population research by Africans, for Africans that shapes pan-African policy.

“With the experience acquired at Wits, I get more responsibilities in professional work. Having been in all African regions, I’m able to now connect the dots and realise the immense potential within Africa to grow through research,” Faye told Wits Vuvuzela.

Faye has been working for APHRC since 2010 as a senior research officer. He then worked at APHRC in Nairobi from 2013-2019 and after submitted his doctoral dissertation in public health this year, was promoted to head of the APHRC West Africa in May.

Faye is originally from Senegal and was able to study with Wits School of Public Health from 2016-2019 through the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA).

CARTA is a fellowship created in partnership with Wits University and APHRC out of the desire to have PhD graduates who are trained in African institutions, with focuses on African research, to actively contribute to the growth of the continent.

Faye credits his time as a CARTA fellow at Wits School of Public Health as having shaped his perspective on the potential of African researchers to make a real impact. The fellowship allowed Faye to complete his doctoral research on childhood development for girls under the age of five in Nairobi informal settlements.

Faye is now taking his research to Dakar and he aims to have South African researchers realise their own goals with the APHRC.

“Our CARTA fellows are really change agents who will be the movers and shakers of the future. Dr [Faye’s] achievement is the fulfilment of one of the highest aims of CARTA. Wits School of Public Health is proud to produce this calibre of graduate,” said Professor Sharon Fonn, co-director of CARTA.

“To have a Wits graduate out there who is a role model to others is something to be proud of. Wits has an important role to play in Africa and that is to make gains for Africa in a multiplicity of ways. Dr Faye is one example,” Fonn said.

As the head of APHRC West Africa, Faye leads the Countdown 2030 initiative for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, an initiative aimed at putting women and children at the centre of public health by improving intervention methods and addressing inequality.

“The most [exciting part] would be to connect the great experience from Wits academics and alumni to that of West African researchers, there is a lot to share,” said Faye, who also holds a master’s degree in statistics from the Houari Boumediene University of Sciences and Technology in Algiers, Algeria.

“To start, I have invited a South African researcher to join a research project and facilitate a workshop in Dakar late this year,” he said.

FEATURED IMAGE: Dr Cheikh Faye has more than 15 years’ experience working in and around West African countries as a researcher and policymaker. Photo: Provided