Setshaba is a demographically diverse research site, that is currently led by an Executive Committee (EXCO), which encompasses five strategic leadership roles within the organization.

From Left: Dr. Ayman Osman Deputy- COO, Ismail Adam- CFO, Kgomotso Phohu-COO, Dr Babalwa Maholwana- Deputy CEO, Dr Khatija Ahmed- CEO

The organisation has a staff complement of approximately 140 employees. The organisation comprises of medical doctors, research nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technologists, regulatory officers, data management personnel, quality assurance personnel, study coordinators, social scientists, counsellors, community engagement officers, retention officers, and other administrative staff. All relevant staff is fully ICH GCP trained.

The EXCO reports to the board of directors and actively aims to achieve the site’s vision and mission.

The EXCO leads the site’s research agenda and maintains close oversight of all the site processes to ensure that high-quality clinical research is conducted and standards of excellence are maintained. More details regarding their research experience are outlined below.

Dr Khatija Ahmed, who is a medical doctor and clinical microbiologist by profession, with a wealth of experience in HIV, TB, COVID, RSV and other research has led the site since its inception in 2004, and under her leadership and guidance, the site has excelled and expanded its research portfolio. Dr Ahmed sits on numerous leadership and steering committees and has established relationships with many key institutions and organisations both nationally and abroad. Through her leadership and guidance she has contributed to the development of many early-career research staff. She has worked closely with many research organizations, including both local and international organizations such as RTI, FHI360, Population Council and HVTN, to name but a few. She has made valuable contributions towards research science and has presented at many conferences as well as co-authored a large number of research publications. Dr Ahmed has served as a Principal Investigator on many research trials, across different research focus areas and is committed to maintaining high standards of quality acr ss all her studies.

Dr Khatija Ahmed- Chief Executive Officer (CEO),  is a medical doctor and clinical microbiologist by profession, with a wealth of experience in HIV, TB, COVID, RSV, and other research has led the site since its inception in 2004, and under her leadership and guidance, the site has excelled and expanded its research portfolio. Dr Ahmed sits on numerous leadership and steering committees and has established relationships with many key institutions and organisations both nationally and abroad. Through her leadership and guidance, she has contributed to the development of many early-career research staff. She has worked closely with many research and other organizations, including both local and international organizations across various spectrums of the research and health industries. She has made valuable contributions towards research science and has presented at many conferences as well as co-authored a large number of research publications. Dr Ahmed has served as a Principal Investigator on many research trials, across different research focus areas and is committed to maintaining high standards of quality across all her studies.

Dr Babalwa Maholwana- Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO), obtained her MBChB degree from the University of Natal in 1999. She was awarded a Fellowship grant by the Medical Research Council and is a published medical researcher. Her pharmaceutical and health industry experience spans over 15 years, having held several leadership roles in Clinical Research, Medical, and Regulatory affairs. Outside the pharmaceutical industry, she gained wide experience running projects in non-profit HIV research for the Medicines Control Council (now the South African Health Products Regulatory Agency or SAHPRA) and International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM). Dr Maholwana completed the Global Executive Development Programme (GEDP) at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in 2016 and further qualified for a GIBS Masters in Philosophy (MPhil), specialising in Strategy, in 2021. Since 2017, she has been invited as a regular speaker on the GIBS Women as Leaders programme. She has recently joined the SRC team.

Ismail Adam Chief Financial Officer (CFO), a qualified Chartered Accountant by profession, is passionate and enthusiastic about the work that SRC does. He has gained strong experience with regards to the financial aspects of a clinical research, non-profit organisation during his time at SRC. Ismail has contributed to many operational and other aspects of the organisation including the Information Technology department. He focuses on working SMART while ensuring that all processes are effective and efficient. He has in-depth knowledge and insight into clinical trials which ensures effective financial planning and management thereof. Ismail was nominated as one of the Top-35-under-35 CA’s in South Africa by SAICA, based on his role and value add at SRC.

Kgomotso Phohu- Chief Operating Officer (COO) encompasses a wealth of knowledge and experience across all areas of SRC and clinical research. She has been with the organisation since 2005 and is the “go-to” person within SRC for many. Her knowledge and expertise include Regulatory, Laboratory, Project Coordination, HR management, and much more. She is a strong motivator and leader and has contributed to the growth and development of many research staff across various departments. She plays a critical and valued role in the organisation and this is complemented by her pleasant nature.

Dr. Ayman Osman- Deputy Chief Operating Officer (DCOO), is an experienced scientist and researcher, with over 14 years of experience. He has a Masters in Medical Microbiology and has recently obtained his PhD in Medical Immunology from the University of Pretoria. His experience ranges across many areas of a clinical trial process, including laboratory, data management, and operational management. He has worked on many research trials including TB, HIV, COVID, and Maternal / Paediatric trials. He aims to implement lean principles that maintain high standards of quality. He has a strong passion for clinical research and has recently re-joined the SRC team.