Our Team

We have a highly experienced team who are leaders in their field. They have received numerous awards, presented at global conferences and published in a variety of publications.

Prof Hannah Faal
Professor Hannah Faal


Born in Calabar, Nigeria, Professor Faal received The Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1975. She relocated to The Gambia in 1980 and as the sole opthamologist, she served a population of 800 000. Professor Faal has served as the President of International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and an advisor to the World Health Organisation. 

Active in research, she has authored over 60 publications with over 2000 citations and is a reviewer for journals. In 2011, she took on Adjunct Professorship in International Eye Health in Nigeria. She is currently a Trustee of the Moorfields Korle Bu Trust, member Scientific Advisory Board of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and Global Advisory Board of Our Children's Vision. 

Dr Fatima
Dr Fatima Kyari

Board Member

Dr Kyari is a consultant opthamologist and founder of the Centre for Community and Rural Eye Care (ICare). She obtained her MBBS from the Ahmadu Bello University, MSc and PhD degrees from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Dr Kyari was the Head of the Department of Community Opthamology, National Eye Centre, Kaduna. She is a member of numerous professional associations and NGOs including, the ICEH (UK), ISGEO, IAPB, LSHTM Alumni Association, AOC and ICO. She is on the Editorial Committee for the Community Eye Health Journal at LSHTM and The World Report on Vision, WHO. Dr Kyari is a Commissioner of the Lancet Commission on Global Eye Health 2019-2020. She has published in numerous international journals and presented at international conferences.

Dr Diane
Dr Diane van Staden

Board Member

Dr van Staden is a DRILL (Developing Research Innovation Localisation and Leadership) Postdoctoral Fellow with an interest in Health Professions Education and Quantitative research. She has served the profession of Optometry in various capacities both within and outside of academia. Her passion for the advancement of eye health services and has led to her contributing to the development of several schools of Optometry on the African continent. Dr van Staden is the Academic Leader of Teaching and Learning within the School of Health Sciences and was a former Academic Leader of Optometry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. 

Professor Kovin Naidoo
Board Member

Recognising the need to develop research capacity in Africa, Professor Naidoo initiated the formation of AVRI. He is an academic, anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner, optometrist and an internationally celebrated Public Health leader. Professor Naidoo is the Senior Vice President in the Social Impact Division at Essilor, Honorary Professor of Optometry at UKZN, Visiting  Professorial Fellow the University of New South Wales and Adjunct Faculty at Salus University, Philadelphia. He was African Optometrist of the Year in 2002 and International Optometrist of the Year in 2007. He has served on the 2019 WHO "World Report on Vision" editorial committee. He is the Founder and Chair  of African Vision and former chair of the Red Cross Air Mercy Services Board of Trustees. Professor Naidoo was the former CEO of Brien Holden Vision Institute. 

Prof Mashige
Professor Khathushelo Percy Mashige


Professor Mashige is a Professor in the School of Health Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has established and developed close relations with scientific organisations and academics in South Africa and abroad through AVRI and also through the African Eye and Public Health Research Institute (AEPRI). Professor has been rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF) as an established researcher with a sustained recent record of productivity in his field, having produced a body of quality work; and has demonstrated the ability to conceptualise the problems and apply research methods to investigating them. He is an Associate Editor of the UK-based Journal, BMC Opthamology and serves on the Editorial Advisory Committee of the South African Health Review Journal. He has been recognised by the South African Optometric Association for significant achievement in the pursuit, advancement or application of Science. He has published widely both locally and internationally. 

Dr Zethembe
Dr Zethembe Mseleku

Research Co-ordinator

Dr Mseleku has a PhD in Human Sciences (Public Policy) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a lifetime UKZN Golden Key member. He has a background in Development Studies with an interest in a variety of Social Science research areas. He has worked on numerous socio-economic development projects including the UKZN / DUT Kenneth Gardens Project, eThekwini Municipality Waste Benefician Project and Edamame Development Programme. Dr Mseleku joined AVRI in 2016 and is involved in the co-ordination of research projects, support for Post-Graduate students and general administration.