Founder & Principal
Tolullah Oni, the Principal of Oni et al and Founder of UrbanBetter

Tolullah Oni

Public Health Physician and Urban Epidemiologist, Principal of Oni et al. and Founder of UrbanBetter.

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 at Imperial College London, UK.

Tolullah Oni is the Programme Lead of the Global Diet and Physical Activity Group and Network at the University of Cambridge MRC Epidemiology Unit and an Extraordinary Professor & Chair at Innovation Africa@UP, University of Pretoria, South Africa where she leads the Urban Better Satellite Studio. 

She is also an Honorary Associate Professor and Lead of the Research Initiative for Cities Health and Equity (RICHE) group 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 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, health foresight 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 health challenges in rapidly growing cities globally.

Research Fellow

Monika Kamkuemah

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.

Spotlight Disruptor

Trish Muzenda

Trish is an urban health enthusiast, passionate about bridging the gap between academia, industry, and communities to shape Africa’s urban spaces for health.

Trish is a Vital Strategies Healthy Food Policy fellow currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Cambridge. She is focused on understanding the intersections between food policies and the lived realities of adolescents living in South African urban areas, with the goal of improving access to affordable healthy food alternatives across all socio-economic groups. She also holds a Master of Public Health (Epidemiology) from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa and a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from Rhodes University.

Prior to pursuing her PhD studies, Trish was a Junior Research Fellow at UCT’s Research Initiative for Cities Health and Equity (RICHE) where she most recently worked on a state-of-the art review of healthy green building initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. The project explored the types of green building guidelines and certification systems in use, and the opportunities to leverage urban infrastructure and development initiatives for health creation.

Her previous research include a literature review of the tools and techniques used to map and characterise food and physical activity environments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), a synthesis of the epidemiological tools used in measuring LMIC adolescent food and physical activity behaviour, as well as an exploratory study on the experiences and potential for intersectoral collaboration in addressing health and housing issues in Doula, Cameroon. 

Trish’s work is motivated by the recognition that sub-Saharan Africa faces a myriad of interconnected and complex urban health challenges that require transdisciplinary and intersectoral efforts to understand their causes whilst simultaneously developing feasible solutions to address them.

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