Prof Sibusiso Sifunda is a chief research specialist in the HSRC's Human and Social Capabilities research programme. He obtained his MPH (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) from the University of Cape Town in 2001, followed by a PhD in Public Health from the Universiteit Maastricht in the Netherlands (2005). His research specialises in social epidemiology, health behaviour and health promotion, global health, implementation science and behavioural interventions. Before joining the HSRC in 2013, Sifunda was a chief specialist scientist and the co-director of the Health Promotion and Behavioural Sciences R&D Unit of the South African Medical Research Council. He has worked as a public-health researcher in various areas, including HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis prevention and youth health. This includes work on large-scale surveys such as the Youth Risk Behaviour Survey and several community-based interventions for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, substance use and life skills.
He is the co-principal investigator of the HSRC?s COVID-19 research team, an interdisciplinary group that has conducted several nationally representative online surveys aimed at tracing the socio-behavioural aspects of the pandemic since March 2020. He is also the co-principal investigator for the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative internship project, which has provided job opportunities to more than 1000 unemployed graduates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sifunda is a National Research Foundation C-rated researcher and a member of the Academy of Science South Africa. He is also a member of the HSRC Research Ethics Committee and represented the HSRC in the National Department of Health's Multi-sectorial National Outbreak Response Team COVID-19 response planning meetings. He was appointed to serve as an author on the DPME/NRF National Country report on South Africa's response to the COVID-19 outbreak (Health Chapter team).
Sifunda has published more than 70 scientific articles in local and international peer-reviewed academic journals, several research reports, over 50 conference abstracts, and 4 books and book chapters. He has mentored and supervised about 3 master-level and 6 PhD-level postgraduate candidates who successfully graduated and acquired their degrees. He has also worked as a public-health consultant and advisor on public-health projects in Botswana, Mozambique and Swaziland. Sifunda serves as a scientific reviewer for several international public-health journals, including Aids and Behavior, Health Education Research and others.