Founder & Principal
Public Health Physician and Urban Epidemiologist, Principal of Oni et al. and Founder of UrbanBetter.
She is also an Extraordinary Professor & Chair at Innovation Africa@UP, University of Pretoria, South Africa where she leads the UrbanBetter lab, and an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town.
Born in Lagos, she completed her medical training at University College London, a Masters degree in Public Health at the University of Cape Town and a doctorate in Epidemiology from Imperial College London, UK.
Profiled in the Lancet journal, Science magazine, and the British Medical Journal, she is a 2019 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, a Fellow of the International Science Council and the African Academy of Sciences, past co-chair of the Global Young Academy and the South African Young Academy of Science, 2015 Next Einstein Forum Fellow and a 2020 Next Generation Foresight Practitioner Fellow.
Her global practice is grounded in a science-informed, Africa-led, participatory approach to generating new knowledge that supports partnership between science, policy and societal role players. She is passionate about identifying creative strategies to address complex urban population and planetary health challenges in rapidly growing cities globally.
Post-doctoral research fellow at UrbanBetter.
Monika holds a BBusSc (Hons) in Quantitative Management and a Master of Public Health (Epidemiology) from the University of Cape Town.
She is a post-doctoral fellow at the UrbanBetter Satellite Studio at Innovation Africa@UP, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her work focuses on the intersection between climate change and health and devising innovative models of youth participation and engagement in environmental justice and health advocacy.
Monika obtained her PhD from the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT), for which she investigated the interlinkages between HIV and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in adolescents and youth living with HIV (AYLHIV) in peri-urban Cape Town. She has published research on this topic including on missed opportunities for NCD prevention in AYLHIV in urban South Africa, on the high prevalence of multimorbidity and NCD risk factors in South African AYLHIV and research on HIV comorbidities including paradoxical TB-IRIS in HIV-infected adults and renal impairment in adults initiating tenofovir-containing antiretroviral therapy regimens.
Prior to pursuing her PhD, she worked as an analyst and researcher for the Anova Health Institute, providing technical assistance to the South African National Department of Health. She facilitated health technology expansion by successfully training >500 Community Health Workers in rural Limpopo on mHealth utilisation as part of primary health care reengineering. She also conducted key analyses on sexually transmitted infections in men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM), including Hepatitis C among a cohort of drug-using MSM and Gonococcal and chlamydial infections among MSM in Cape Town, South Africa.
Monika is passionate about translational research, community upliftment, and youth advocacy. She is an International AIDS Society (IAS) change maker and the co-founder of the Okunongonona Health Association, a not-for-profit organisation in Namibia, which conducts health research to improve the quality of life of Namibians.
Waziri Mainasara Abubakar
Waziri is an economist and fitness enthusiast.
He studied Economics (Bsc and Msc) at the University Of Abuja and University Of Lagos respectively. He is also a fitness enthusiast, runner and lover of adventure. His concern for physical and mental health resulted in co-founding “Fit Trackers”, a run and fitness group that promotes healthy living by encouraging people to engage in various forms of exercise, tracking their fitness activities and holding them accountable by sharing everyone’s scorecard monthly.
As an UrbanBetter #Cityzens4CleanAir Run leader, he is a citizen scientist merging his love of fitness with data informed advocacy for clean air and healthy public spaces.
In his blog entry from January 2023, Waziri shared his #Cityzens4CleanAir experience measuring air quality in Lufasi Park, an environmental conservation park in Lagos.