Head of Department

Prof. Rudzani Muloiwa

Professor Rudzani Muloiwa was born and raised in the region now known as Limpopo. After doing his undergraduate MBChB degree at the University of (KwaZulu) Natal, Rudzani trained as a paediatrician at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and the University of Cape Town (UCT), obtaining a Fellowship in Paediatrics with the Colleges of Medicines of South Africa (CMSA) in 2004. After this he completed an M.Sc. (Public Health Developing Countries) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). His PhD is currently under examination. He has an interest in infectious diseases with a special emphasis on vaccine preventable diseases. 
He currently runs the Paediatric and Adolescent HIV Clinical Services at Groote Schuur Hospital. He is a member of the Vaccines for Africa Initiative (VACFA) which is located within the School of Public Health & Family Medicine at UCT. Since 2017 Rudzani has served as a member of the South African National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) consisting of multidisciplinary groups of experts responsible for providing information to national governments that is used to make evidence-based decisions regarding vaccine and immunization policy. He is also  a steering committee member of the Global Pertussis Initiative (GPI). He serves as the Deputy Chair of the Board of World Vision South Africa.


Prof. Heather Zar
Chair of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Heatlh and Director of SA-MRC Unit

Heather Zar is Professor & Chair of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and Director of the MRC unit on Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa and Director of the CHILD unit at the UCT Lung Institute.  After specialising in paediatrics she did 3 years of sub-specialist training in paediatric pulmonology at Babies Hospital, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centre, New York, USA. She then returned to South Africa, following an academic career (including a PhD) while working at UCT. Her work, encompassing research, clinical care, education, training and advocacy, has focused on child lung health.

She has developed a strong clinical translational research program, establishing several clinical research sites and building a core clinical research facility. Research has focused on priority areas in child lung health including pneumonia, TB, HIV-associated lung disease and asthma.  Key findings have influenced international practice guidelines and improved care. She leads a novel birth cohort study, the Drakenstein child health study, to investigate the early determinants of child health and development of chronic disease in a peri-urban area of South Africa.  She is currently an A-1 rated scientist by the National Research Foundation. She has published more than 600 papers in high impact journals (h-index 98), mentored several postgraduate students and has received many research grants from international funding agencies such as the NIH, the Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the UK-MRC and the European Developing Country Clinical Trials Partnership. She was awarded a MRC unit in 2014.

She is Chair of a large department based at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, the largest African hospital dedicated to children.  She has led the development of national, African and global education programs for child health including a national paediatric pulmonology training program and an African fellowship training program. Her work has involved major capacity development, building research sites, upskilling staff and members of communities, with high throughput of postgraduate students.  She has mentored 33 PhD students (24 completed); 40 masters students (30 completed) and approximately 30 paediatric pulmonology trainees across Africa, building much needed capacity in clinical science for child health.  Findings have changed clinical practice and advanced strategies for prevention of illness and care of children globally.  

She has been a strong advocate for improved child health in LMICs, leading initiatives in global organisations such as serving as President of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, Chair of the WHO technical advisory committee on new RSV interventions and past-President of the Pan African Thoracic Society. In 2010 she was given a special award at the International Congress of Paediatric Pulmonology for outstanding leadership and distinguished service to children with the greatest need. She was awarded the South African National Science and Technology award for an Individual for an Outstanding Contribution to Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation through Research over the last 5-10 years. In 2014 she was given the World Lung Health award by the American Thoracic society, the first African and first child health specialist to receive this.  She was awarded the L’Oreal UNESCO Women in Science Laureate for African and Arabia in 2018. Other awards include the President’s award from the International Paediatric Pulmonology in 2019; a SA-MRC Platinum award for Lifetime achievement in 2021 and the European Respiratory Society Lifetime Achievement award in 2023.


Alan Davidson

Assoc Prof. Alan Davidson
Postgraduate Education

Alan Davidson is the head of Haematology-Oncology at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. His interests are the development of shared care platforms and locally appropriate treatment protocols and he is the outgoing chair of the South African Children’s Cancer Study Group. His clinical interests are HIV-related malignancy, brain tumours and bone marrow transplantation. He also takes a keen interest in paediatric education and serves as the director of postgraduate education in UCT’s Department of Paediatrics and Child Health.


Dr Shamiel Salie
Head of Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)



Dr Heloise Buys

Dr Heloise Buys
Head of Ambulatory and Emergency Services

Dr Heloise Buys graduated from medical school at the University of Zimbabwe. After a short initiation in        paediatrics in Harare, Zimbabwe, she left to train further in paediatrics in the U.K. After 6 years of exposure to paediatrics under the British health system from work mainly in district general hospitals, returned to African soils with the U.K. MRCP and APLS certificates.

After a short stint as medical officer in the Ambulatory services at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, she joined the gruelling registrar rotation to complete training as a certified paediatric specialist. Her consultant career was launched at Conradie district hospital where apart from looking after 63 paediatric beds she was also responsible for training Interns, Medical Officers and UCT and visiting Oxford MBChB final year medical students. Following the DOH decision to close Conradie hospital she took up stints at Karl Bremer and New Somerset Hospitals (both then functioning as busy level 2 hospitals) as well as outreach support to Eerste Rivier District hospital.

She became a Senior Specialist at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in 2005 and is currently Head of Clinical Unit Ambulatory and Emergency Paediatrics at the Children’s Hospital. Along with 2 other consultants she oversees a busy unit with 35 000 patients triaged and 7-10 000 seen in the Resuscitation room per annum, a short stay ward with high turnover and a well-used outpatient unit. The whole Unit serves a large part of the Metropolitan area of Cape Town and there are plans for expansion and developing a modern paediatric emergency centre.

The Unit has responsibility for Under-graduate and Post-graduate training. Part of the Vision is to maintain a Paediatric Emergency Unit of excellence.


Assoc Prof. Brian Eley
Director B wards


Dr Phumza Nongena
Paediatrics:  New Somerset Hospital




Dr Michelle Carrihill
Paediatrics: Groote Schuur Hospital



Prof. Heather Zar
Chair of The executive committee




Prof Tony Westwood

Assoc Prof. Chris Scott

Christiaan Scott is a Paediatric Rheumatologist at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. After studying medicine at the University of the Free State, he worked in paediatrics in Guildford and other London hospitals and then came back to complete his paediatric training at the Red Cross Hospital.

There was no training programme for paediatric rheumatology in South Africa, so he spent a year in Leuven, Belgium, on a Discovery Foundation scholarship in 2008 and time in Genoa, Italy, supported by funding from the Arthritis Foundation and the South African Rheumatism and Arthritis Foundation. He has been in his current position since 2009
Scott is now one of only five paediatric rheumatologists in South Africa, with a special interest in juvenile arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosis. He teaches paediatrics and rheumatology to medical students and has helped to secure funding and training opportunities at the Red Cross and Tygerberg hospitals, aiming to train at least two more paediatric rheumatologists over the next two years.

He is also part of a research team that collaborates with a number of universities across the world, including University College London and Duke University, studies various types of rheumatic diseases, with a special focus on how they affect children in South Africa. He is also the South African coordinator for the Paediatric Rheumatology International Trials Organisation (PRINTO), which runs a number of international collaborative studies.

Dr Scott advocates for children’s rights and equal access to healthcare and is chairman of UCT’s School of Adolescent and Child Health advocacy committee.