Head of CAPRISA’s Community Programme aims to bridge the gap between scientists and communities

3 September 2021

CAPRISA welcomes Mr Patrick Mdletshe, a seasoned health advocate and national deputy chairperson of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), as Head of the CAPRISA Community Programme. Mdletshe describes himself as a ‘catalyst for social justice striving for social change’ bringing a wealth of experience in advocacy, community engagement and activism that spans over two decades. He explained that his primary aim is to ‘bridge the gap between scientists and communities’. 

Mdletshe has successfully led several major community projects and has extensive practical experience and knowledge of health systems in South Africa. As an advocate for equal access to health care, Mdletshe engages directly with communities to advance quality and equitable health care services in the country. “I see my role to integrate and position CAPRISA at community levels where CAPRISA’s presence can be seen and felt through various community programs as part of our community investment to those communities we work with, “said Mdletshe.

“Patrick Mdletshe brings two decades of experience in advocacy, community engagement and activism to CAPRISA,” says Professor Kogie Naidoo, Deputy Director of CAPRISA.  “His skill in leading engagement and consultation with local, national and international civil society groups, his knowledge as a health advocate and experience with both monitoring and strengthening public health systems brings immense strength to CAPRISA’s community programme.” 

Mdletshe, who hails from KwaZulu-Natal, has spent most of his working career in Gauteng where he gained extensive experience and knowledge as a health advocate, leading engagement and consultation with various civil society groups and key stakeholders, monitoring and strengthening the public health system. He has worked as a field researcher - conducting community research whilst at TAC and Section27.

He has held several leadership positions and currently also serves as co-chair in the KwaZulu Natal Provincial Council on AIDS (KZN PCA), and he is Chairperson of the KZN Civil Society. Mdletshe attended the US International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) and spent four weeks in the US learning about the health care system and the role of civil society in responding to global challenges of the 21st century.