Tom Ellman is director of the Southern Africa Medical Unit (SAMU). Since first working for MSF in Rwanda in 1995, he has over 15 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.
Helen Bygrave is originally from the UK and worked in London as a hospital and primary care physician for ten years. In 2001 she took off to Uganda where a medical wake up call awaited her in an HIV clinic in Kampala, managing patients in the days before antiretroviral therapy was available. Four years later she signed up with MSF and by chance ended up in an HIV project, this time in Lagos, Nigeria. After seeing the amazing ‘Lazarus effect’ of antiretrovirals that were then available in the MSF clinic, she was bitten by the MSF/HIV bug and continued to work in HIV/TB projects in Myanmar and Lesotho over the next four years.
In 2010 she joined the Southern Africa Medical Unit and now provides technical support for HIV/TB projects across Africa. Her particular areas of interest are PMTCT, the introduction of less toxic antiretroviral therapies in resource poor settings and the introduction of viral load monitoring.
Dmytro Donchuk joined MSF for the first time more than 10 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.
Technical Support Advisors
Robyn Mosdell is Strategic Resources Manager for SAMU, having an educational background in psychology and development. She has been employed in the South African NPO sector for over 20 years, focusing on a variety of different issues, including life skills education, counseling, financial oversight, operational and human resource (HR) management, and organisational development. Robyn’s experience has been gathered across South Africa, with stints in Johannesburg, Grahamstown, Worcester and Cape Town.
Robyn enjoys the beauty of the Western Cape, and tries to get out into the country whenever possible. The splendor of South Africa is never far from her mind and the development of both the country and the people have been motivating forces throughout her career.
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
Olivier started humanitarian field work with the French NGO Action Contre la Faim (ACF) in 1995.
He joined MSF in 2005 and has always worked as worked as Field Coordinator and Head of Mission in a variety of humanitarian programmes in Sierra Leone, Liberia, South Sudan, Myanmar, DRC, Kenya, Uganda, and Kosovo.
Olivier left field work for the MSF Geneva head office to work 3 years as HR officer in an operational cell, and then moved on to share his experiences with MSF field staff as training coordinator (4 years) where he focused mainly on operational management (HoM-Fieldco) and human resources management trainings.
He joined MSF SAMU in January 2015, as head of the Learning unit.
He has a Master’s degree in “International Humanitarian Assistance – Emergency / Rehabilitation” through AIX – MARSEILLE University of Rights and Political Sciences (2000), as well as a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Adult Education and Training: Analysis, management and development through the Educational Sciences & Psychology University of GENEVA (2013).
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 to 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 allowing him to move into a more focused position coordinating the clinical trainings both face to face and on-line.
Alexandra joined the SAMU team in early 2017 as part of the SAMU Learning Unit. Alexandra organises and oversees the smooth running of SAMU off-site trainings, as well as Resource management and website maintenance.
Alexandra hold a BA Fine Arts degree from Stellenbosch University and a Masters in Cultural Studies from Université Jean Moulin, Lyon.