Tom Ellman is director of the Southern Africa Medical Unit (SAMU). Since first working for MSF in Rwanda in 1995, he has over 20 years of experience in humanitarian medical work mostly with Medecins Sans Frontieres. His focus has been on HIV, TB, and malaria in Africa and South-East Asia, apart from a three-year ‘break’ working on Chagas disease – the ‘AIDS of the Americas’ – in Bolivia.
Tom received his medical training in Edinburgh, has a Diploma from the School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (Liverpool), and a Masters in Communicable Disease Epidemiology from the School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (London). He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians, UK and a beekeeper.
Eric Goemaere is a medical doctor and economist by training. His career with MSF started in 1982, working in Chad and afterwards in several field MSF missions, with some ‘interruptions’ to be OCB’s medical director (1988 to 1991) and General Director (1994 to 1999).In 1999 Eric migrated to South Africa to pioneer MSF’s first public health ARV programme in Khayelitsha. Since then Eric has occupied numerous positions in running MSF’s projects in South Africa, finally joining SAMU in 2009 where he is currently the HIV/TB Unit Coordinator.
Eric has received an Honoris Causa doctorate from University of Cape Town (UCT) for his work in HIV, as well as being appointed honorary senior lecturer in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine. He is a member of the South African AIDS Council and on the WHO guidelines advisory board.
Gilles Van Cutsem is a medical doctor, master in public health and epidemiologist with over 16 years’ experience with MSF in Africa. From 1998 to 2000 he treated patients in war contexts in South Sudan and Angola, and in 2001 as an emergency doctor in Belgium. For the next 15 years he has worked in the field of HIV and TB, in Mozambique, Angola, and South Africa, as a clinician, researcher, coordinator of the Khayelitsha project, and from 2010 to 2016 as the medical coordinator for South Africa and Lesotho, with an interruption in November-December 2014 as the emergency medical coordinator for MSF’s Ebola intervention in Liberia. He has served as vice-president on the board of MSF-South Africa and on the national council of the Treatment Action Campaign, and is an honorary research associate at the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research of the University of Cape Town. He joined SAMU on the 1st of April 2016 to provide support to MSF HIV/TB projects. Besides humanitarian aid he loves his two daughters, surfing and Spinoza.
Dmytro Donchuk joined MSF for the first time more than 12 years ago when he was still doing his medical training in infectious diseases. As a clinician he was in charge of care for the patients with HIV, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis in his home town of Odessa in Ukraine. After several years break, during which he worked in a number of HIV/TB treatment programs in Russia, Dmytro returned to work in MSF field projects, to be confronted by the challenge of HIV/TB epidemics in Mozambique and Swaziland, and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) and HIV in Kyrgyz prisons.
In 2011 Dmytro joined SAMU where he currently supports a number of OCB HIV, TB and hepatitis projects in Eastern Europe, Asia, and West and North Africa. He is the HIV/TB and hepatitis advisor and focal point on comprehensive medical care for PWUD (People Who Use Drugs). Dmytro coordinates the intersectional contact group on chronic viral hepatitis.
Gabriella Ferlazzo is an Infectious Disease Doctor from Italy. She graduated from medical school in Bologna in 2004, then specialized in Infectious Disease in Rome. Prior to joining MSF, she also trained in Tropical Medicine and International Health and completed internships in different countries across the globe, including Benin, Tanzania, Brasil, Russia, Portugal and Spain. Gabriella joined MSF in 2009 and worked in several projects on TB/DRTB, HIV, migration health and Ebola.
After 3 years in Paris as TB/HIV adviser, she joined the SAMU team where she occupies the position of Senior TB/HIV adviser with a focus on TB/DRTB. Her main areas of work are: new diagnostic and treatment strategies for DRTB, TB preventive therapy (TPT), TB in advanced HIV, children and other vulnerable populations. She supports MSF Operational research on TB, is co-investigator in MSF clinical trials endTB and endTB Q and represents SAMU in MSF TB Working Group.
Esther Casas is the Senior HIV/TB Advisor and focal point for Zimbabwe, Guinea, Central African Republic and Nigeria, where she provides HIV/TB technical and strategic support, and also coordinates SAMU input.
She is also responsible for the following portfolios: Pediatrics and Adolescent HIV/TB, Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), integration of HIV/TB care in countries with other operational priorities and HIV/TB care in emergencies and unstable settings.
Antonio Flores is an infectious disease specialist with clinical and programmatic experience in HIV, TB, viral hepatitis and tropical diseases (mainly malaria and Kala-Azar). He joined SAMU in 2020 to support the implementation and integration of HIV and TB programs in humanitarian settings.
He has worked with MSF since 2016 and implemented and coordinated medical programs in a variety of contexts, such as epidemics, migrants/displaced populations and conflict, throughout Africa and in Brazil.
Technical Support Advisors
Robyn is the Head of Strategic Resources in SAMU. Her background is in psychology, development and gender studies. She has spent 30 years in the development and humanitarian sectors in both South African and international organizations. She began her career developing youth centres in the Eastern Cape. She spent a number of years providing counselling over a number of themes including coping with terminal illness, dealing with loss, career planning, trauma, relationship and NGO management.
As her career progressed, she became involved in NGO governance and has been in management roles in a number of large NGOs such as Family and Marriage Society of South Africa; The Cancer Association; Planned Parenthood Association; Sonke Gender Justice Network; Inyathelo, The South African Institute for Advancement and now Doctors without Borders.
She is also an Integral Coach. She completed her Coaching for Development training through The Centre for Coaching, situated at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) in 2019 and her Professional Coaching Course through the same school in 2020/21.
Tandi is proudly South African, based in Cape Town and working for SAMU as the Training Unit Administrator. She is one of the few red roses amongst the thorny men in her office. Tandi manages the smooth running of the SAMU office.
Tandi has a Marketing diploma which strengthens her organisational skills. She has chosen the route of law as a part time student with the dream of becoming a Humanitarian lawyer…….. and possibly eventually working in MSF projects.
Learning and Development Unit
Ian Proudfoot is the clinical training coordinator for SAMU. After graduating as a doctor from the University of Cape Town in 1982, he spent over 20 years in general practice in Cape Town, during which time he specialised in family medicine. In 2007 the needs of the government sector started to beckon and within a few years he made a career shift into HIV medicine, moving to Mpumalanga in 2009 to work in an HIV/TB clinic.
Two years later, after gaining valuable HIV consulting experience and completing the HIV management diploma, he moved back to Cape Town, joining MSF in their Khayelitsha project. There his passion for clinical education started to find expression, resulting in a move to SAMU to take over the running of the training unit. With increasing demand for training SAMU’s learning unit expanded considerably over the next few years, with him taking on a new head of training and allowing him to move into a more focused role of developing HIV clinical resources and elearning materials and coordinating clinical HIV trainings both in Cape Town and in the field. In early 2020, whilst nearing the end of a masters course in health professions education at a university in Cape Town, he took over as head of the learning unit, taking on the coordination of all SAMU’s training offers and leading the strategic and pedagogical visions of the learning unit.
Rosie Burton is the Advanced HIV Senior Clinical Advisor for SAMU. An advocate for the health needs of marginalized communities from her early years, Rosie completed her medical training in the UK and then went on to specialize in obstetrics and gynaecology. After a short placement in South Africa during her specialist training Rosie returned to South Africa to take her studies further, specializing in internal medicine and then taking her education one step further into a specialist training in infectious diseases.
After several years working in this field for the ministry of health in South Africa she joined MSF in 2014, where she rapidly found her niche, travelling extensively throughout Africa providing technical support, training and mentoring in rural hospitals dealing primarily with sick patients with HIV and TB. Her extensive experience in these varied rural environments has positioned her ideally for substantial contributions to the development of two widely used practical handbooks for HIV and TB care in both hospital and primary care environments.
Terrence Kamvumbi is a Mentoring and Learning Advisor for SAMU who joined the unit in May 2019. He is a medical doctor who trained at the University of Algiers (Algeria) and has practiced medicine in Zimbabwe, where he gained his experience. Terrence also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Paris Graduate School of Management (France). His work with the L&D unit involves delivery of HIV/TB OPD training, preparation of training materials (particularly in French language), oversight of mentoring programs and program implementation.
Cindy Cordingley-Wiid is the Learning Unit Officer for SAMU. She graduated with Bachelor of Education from Wits University in 1987 and has also completed several Education, Training and Development modules through the University of Johannesburg. Cindy has spent more than 20 years in the corporate learning and development environment, working in a various training roles. Cindy joined SAMU in 2020.
She organises and oversees the smooth running of SAMU off-site training, provides technical support for online training, as well as resource management and website maintenance.