Kirsten Deanne Arendse

Partners Research

Kirsten is a medical doctor with experience in global health and clinical research. She holds a Medical Degree from the University of Cape Town and graduated with a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Cambridge, for which she received two prestigious scholarship awards, from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust and the Chevening Foreign and Commonwealth Fund. She is the HIV Medical Research Manager for Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) South Africa, and her work and research has been published and presented at several international conferences.

Kirsten completed her clinical training in a variety of settings throughout South Africa, ranging from specialized urban settings to poorly resourced, remote rural hospitals. Her experience working in a clinical environment and within public health systems in a lower-middle income country is invaluable in contextualizing the feasibility and relevance of benshi’s operations in similar clinical and cultural environments within these regions. During and after her Master’s degree, she joined a clinical research team, the CanTest Collaborative, in conducting research to identify gaps to accessing primary care services for people presenting with early signs of cancer in the UK.

During her time with MSF, she spearheaded the development, implementation and evaluation of innovative strategies to improve healthcare services for people living with HIV in a peri-urban, low-income community in Cape Town. She managed a team of healthcare workers, conducted the operational research to evaluate the pilot projects and became involved in various advocacy forums for Advanced HIV disease. This includes sitting on the HIV policy committee for the Western Cape Province, using her experiences in the delivery of healthcare services to advocate for improvements in local and national policy and practice.

As part of MSF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kirsten was involved in setting up a field hospital in Cape Town. She also supported the local government in reorganizing health care service delivery for chronic diseases, by rolling out remote consultations and home-delivery of medication to a low-income community, in order to adjust to the movement and social-distancing restrictions posed by the national lockdown.

Kirsten is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa, where she spends most of her free time surfing, hiking, watching live music or learning a new recipe.

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