Annual Jakes Gerwel Award

Jakes Gerwel Award in Public Health 2019 - Mr Siraaj Adams


Mr Siraaj Adams received the 2019 Jakes Gerwel Award! Siraaj delivered a lecture entitled “Transforming Public Health using Digital Health, the journey so far...”.

Present at the event were members of the Gerwel family, University of the Western Cape, Mauerberger Foundation Fund, and Siraaj's family and colleagues.

An online recording will be made available shortly.


Siraaj Adams grew up and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. He is the CEO of Digital Health (Pty) Ltd which is an accelerator to support digital health start-ups mature to access commercial contracts and obtain long term sustainability. He is also the strategic partner to Iyeza Health, which started out as only the last mile logistics services in the low-income areas.  Last mile logistics involves the fast and efficient movement of goods from a central location to the final delivery destination. In this case it involves the movement of individual packaged medicines parcels from the Western Cape Chronic Dispensing Unit to public sector clinics, or patients’ homes. Currently, Iyeza Health is a sub-contractor of the Western Cape Government Chronic Dispensing Unit and is responsible for the delivery of chronic medication to 30 public sector clinics in low income areas. In addition, Iyeza Health has achieved the required cold chain compliance, and built the required digital infrastructure in order to scale the business nationally.

Siraaj Adams obtained his pharmacy degree in 2000 and MPH in 2016, both from UWC. His MPH thesis investigated: Effectiveness of a monetary incentive on General Practitioners' behaviour of promoting HIV testing for pregnant women in the private sector. He also has an MBA from UCT. Siraaj spent 10 years in HIV disease management and then using his pharmacy, public health, business and entrepreneurial skills moved into development of digital platforms, developing several HIV and TB apps for the National Department of Health. Siraaj credits his MPH as being a turning point in his career to focus his skills on health innovations at a population level, and at the same time partner with local entrepreneurs to apply digital solutions to community level initiatives such as medicine delivery.

Siraaj serves on the boards of several prominent health care organisations including: HIV Clinicians Society, South African Business Coalition on Health and Aids (SABCOHA) and TB/HIV Care, and represents the private sector at various Provincial Aids Councils. He was recently appointed by Minister Nomafrench Mbombo, Chairperson of the Provincial Council on AIDS (PCA), to serve as a representative of the Business Sector.

He has received numerous national accolades over the past few years, the latest in April 2019 being the Vaccine Delivery Challenge, where he was the health sector winner in a global competition for startups who have devised innovative solutions using mobile platforms.

The SOPH and UWC are proud to have such a creative and energetic innovator and leader among their alumni; and it is thus with great pleasure that we bestow the 2019 Jakes Gerwel Award to Mr Siraaj Adams.

School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape
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