Joyce Mahlako Tsoka-Gwegweni


Prof. Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni


+27 (0)31 260 4386



Howard College

Research Interests

Maternal, Women’s and Child Health; Communicable diseases, Parasitology, Health Research Ethics, Nutrition, Health Promotion


Dean and Head of School in the School of Nursing and Public Health (acting) 

 Biosketch  Professor Joyce M Tsoka-Gwegweni is currently the Associate Professor & Acting Dean and Head of School in the School of Nursing and Public Health.  Prof Tsoka-Gwegweni has more than 20 years of health science research experience.  She has served for more than 15 years in management and leadership positions. She joined the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2009 as a Deputy Dean of the Medical School until end of 2011. In 2012 she became the first Academic Leader for Teaching and Learning in the School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences. Prior to joining the University she occupied a high profile post of a Content Advisor for the Portfolio Committee on Health in the National Assembly, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa (2008 to 2009). She also served as Research Manager of the Research Management Division and as a Senior Scientist for the Malaria Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council from 1999 to 2007.


She currently sits on various Boards and Committees of the University: School Board of the Nursing and Public Health, School Executive Management Committee, Biomedical Research Ethics Committee, Centre for Rural Health Advisory Board. She was Chair of the School of Nursing and Public Health Teaching and Learning Committee and Exam Board, Planning Committee at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine 60th Anniversary Celebrations, Faculty Undergraduate Committee and Exam Board, Academic Promotions, and Exclusions Appeals Committees. She also served as a Member of the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine Faculty Committees: Postgraduate, Executive, Board, HOD Forum. At the College level she sat on the Academic Affairs Quality Board, College Management Committee as well at the University Senate, Executive/Deans and Deputy Deans Forum.


She has various qualifications in the field of Public Health and health sciences that include a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, two masters degrees:  one from the former University of Natal, a Master of Science degree in Medical Parasitology, and another a Master of Public Health from the University of the Western Cape, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Biological Sciences from Reading University, UK, and various business management and leadership qualifications.



Academic Leadership and management

Currently, her main responsibilities are Academic Leadership, Teaching and Learning, Research and Community Engagement. As an Academic leader and manager she is responsible for key areas that include: Strategic planning; Human resource development, support and management; Financial planning and administration; Research and Project support and management; Quality Assurance; Transformation; Training; Advising; and Advocacy of institutional interests. She is responsible for 25 staff members (13 academics, 8 registrars and 3 support staff).


Teaching and Learning

Professor Tsoka-Gwegweni is primarily involved with teaching postgraduate students. She is currently supervising 4 Master of Medical Science, 3 Master of Public Health, students and 7 PhD students. She also gives lectures on an ad hoc basis on Health Research Ethics (Research Methods Module) to 2nd year MPH students and 3rd year MBChB (Selectives Module).  In 2013 she introduced a support programme with a grant from the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) for post graduate students where she teaches a cohort of PhD students on a quarterly basis. In 2012 she was involved with teaching of undergraduate medical students (MBChB) in Years 1-3. What she enjoyed most in this teaching was the community-oriented and research-based structure of the modules.



Prof Tsoka-Gwegweni is an established researcher and her research interests in public health include: medical parasitology; maternal, women’s and child health; health systems; health research ethics; and epidemiology of communicable and skin diseases. Therefore, her research and community projects are concerned with vulnerable communities such as children, pregnant women, women, street children and refugees. She is particularly interested in their health status, epidemiology, prevention and treatment of communicable and poverty-related diseases and how the health system responds to the needs of these communities. Prof Tsoka-Gwegweni has widely published in both reputable national and international journals. In addition, she has presented her work to both local, national and international audiences.



Research Projects





Community  Engagement


Apart from teaching and doing research, Prof Tsoka-Gwegweni is an actively involved in various community projects. Among these are: The Denis Hurley Centre (DHC) where she serves as a Trustee of the Centre and an Executive member of the Clinic run by the Centre, Usizo Lwethu Clinic. The Centre is a non-profit organization which provides social and health services to disadvantaged communities around Durban inner city; that include refugees, the homeless and street hawkers. Her other involvement with the Clinic is health promotion in the Health & Wellness Programmes, Monitoring and Evaluation of health status of refugees and other people who attend the Centre. Until recently she was involved with Umuzi we Themba kuJesu, a non-profit organization focusing on HIV Home-based care. She has now joined a group of undergraduate medical students who are providing outreach support and services to disadvantaged rural communities living around the Happy Valley Clinic. The Clinic is the sole responsibility of the students where they provide limited primary health care services to the community. Prof Tsoka-Gwegweni’s involvement is health promotion on nutrition and communicable diseases and providing advice on other community needs.

Researchgate Profile

List of Publications

Journal articles


JM Tsoka-Gwegweni, Uchenna Okafor (2014). Prevalence of asymptomatic malaria infection among refugees living in non-endemic South African city. PLOS ONE (Accepted).


Ncoza C. Dlova, Saja H. Hamed, Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni, Anneke Grobler, Lynn Thomas (2014). Skin lightening practices: an epidemiological study amongst South African women of African and Indian ancestry. British Journal of Dermatology (Accepted).


Ncoza Dlova, Saja H Hamed, Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni, Anneke Grobler (2014). Knowledge and perceptions of the benefits and risks of skin lightening creams in South African Black women. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 0:1-6.


Tsoka JM & Ntombela NP (2014). A double load to carry: parasites and pregnancy. Southern African Journal of Epidemiology & Infection, Vol 29 No 2.


Ncoza C. Dlova, Avumile Mankahla, Nomandla Madala, Anneke Grobler, Joyce Tsoka- Gwegweni, (2014). The spectrum of skin diseases in a black population in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. International Journal of Dermatology. Epub:e1-e7. doi: 10.1111/ijd.12589.


Ncoza C. Dlova, Funanani T. Nevondo, Elizabeth M. Mwangi, Beverly Summers, Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni, Bice S. Martincigh & Dulcie A. Mulholland (2013). Chemical analysis and in vitro UV-protection characteristics of clays traditionally used for sun protection in South Africa. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology  & Photomedicine, 29:164-169.


JM Tsoka-Gwegweni, I Kleinschmidt (2013). Malaria control aimed at the entire population in KwaZulu-Natal negates the need for policies to prevent malaria in pregnancy.  South African Medical Journal, 103(3):172-5.


Kwitshana ZL, JM Tsoka, Mabaso M (2008). Prevalence of helminth parasites in the adult population in KwaZulu-Natal. South African Medical Journal, 98(9):709-711.


JM Tsoka, D le Sueur (2007). Health service utilisation and status of children 12-23 months in Ubombo district. The Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection, 22(4):123-126.


KI Barnes, DN Durrheim, F Little, A Jackson, U Mehta, E Allen, SS Dlamini, J Tsoka, B Bredenkamp et al. (2005). Effect of Artemether-Lumefantrine policy and improved vector control on malaria burden in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, PLOS Medicine, 2(11): 1-12.


JM Tsoka, D le Sueur (2004). Using GIS to measure geographical accessibility of primary health care in rural South Africa. South African Journal of Science. 100 (7/8): 329-330.


JM Tsoka, D le Sueur & BL Sharp (2003). Maternal health service utilisation in Ubombo district South African Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 9(3): 70-74.



JA Ogunbanwo, J Tsoka & A Egan (2001). Strengthening grant applications from Africa. Trends in Parasitology, 17(4): 162-163.


JM Tsoka, JA Freese, EJ Rossouw, BL Sharp & CC Appleton (1997). Action of the chloroquine/pyrimethamine combination on southern African isolates of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro. South African Journal of Science, 93: 1-2.


JM Tsoka, JA Freese, EJ Rossouw, BL Sharp, & CC Appleton (1996). In vitro effect of pyrimethamine on gametocytogenesis and exflagellation of southern African isolates of Plasmodium falciparum. The Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection, 11(4): 112-115.


JM Tsoka & BL Sharp (2002). Malaria mortality over time from 1994 to 1999 in rural KwaZulu-Natal. Journal of South African Veterinary Association, 73(3):156 (Abstract).


JM Tsoka. (2005). Burden of malaria in pregnancy in KwaZulu-Natal: preliminary results. Journal of South African Veterinary Association, 76(3):179 (Abstract).




JM Tsoka (2004). The effect of distance from clinics on maternal and child health (MCH) service utilisation and MCH status. PhD Thesis, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.


JM Tsoka (2003).  Evaluation of the Malaria Information System in KwaZulu-Natal. Master of Public Health Mini-thesis, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.


JM Tsoka (1995). Effect of pyrimethamine on gametocytogenesis, exflagellation and asexual growth in southern African isolates of Plasmodium falciparum. MSc Thesis, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.




Tsoka-Gwegweni JM & Majalamba V (2009). Oversight Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health: Visit to the Eastern Cape August 2009. Cape Town: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa.


Tsoka-Gwegweni JM (2009). Strategic Plan of the Portfolio Committee on Health 2009-2014. Cape Town: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa.


Nogenga Y & Tsoka-Gwegweni JM (eds.) (2008). Report of the Eastern Cape Taking Parliament to the People, November 2008. Cape Town: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa.


JM Tsoka (2006). Malaria in pregnancy in rural KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Technical Report 2006, for the National Department of Health & the World Health Organization. Durban: MRC.


JA Ogunbanwo, J Tsoka (2001). Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Grant Application/Peer Review Workshop: A solid foundation toward advancing malaria research capacity in Africa. MIM Newsletter.


BL Sharp, M Craig, S Ngxongo, C Martin, J Tsoka, D le Sueur (1998). The Contribution and future potential of geographic information systems to health delivery in South Africa. Malaria Policybrief.  MRC Policy Brief, 3: 1-4.


D le Sueur, S Ngxongo, B Sharp, C Martin, C, Fraser, M Teuschner, S Tollman, C Green, J Tsoka, G Solarsh & A Mnzava (1997). Towards a spatial rural information system. Durban: Health Systems Trust.


The spectrum of skin diseases in a black population in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Dlova NC, Mankahla A, Madala N, Grobler A, Tsoka-Gwegweni J, Hift RJ.

Int J Dermatol. 2014 Apr 16. doi: 10.1111/ijd.12589

PMID: 24738608

Chemical analysis and in vitro UV-protection characteristics of clays traditionally used for sun protection in South Africa.

Dlova NC, Nevondo FT, Mwangi EM, Summers B, Tsoka-Gwegweni J, Martincigh BS, Mulholland DA.

Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2013 Jun;29(3):164-9. doi: 10.1111/phpp.12042.

PMID: 23651277

Malaria control aimed at the entire population in KwaZulu-Natal negates the need for policies to prevent malaria in pregnancy.

Tsoka-Gwegweni JM, Kleinschmidt I.

S Afr Med J. 2013 Jan 24;103(3):172-5. doi: 10.7196/samj.6330.

PMID: 23472694

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