An academic, researcher, educator and internationally celebrated public health leader, Professor Kovin Naidoo has been revolutionising access and delivery to eye care for the disadvantaged throughout the world. A powerful public health advocate, he has devoted his working life to reducing avoidable blindness and vision impairment, with specific emphasis on refractive error.
Professor Naidoo is the CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Chairperson of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (Africa), Associate Professor of Optometry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), and Adjunct Faculty at SalusUniversity in Philadelphia. He is also a Vision Impact Institute advisory board member. He has published extensively in epidemiology and public health. Recognizing the need to develop research capacity in Africa, Prof Naidoo initiated the formation of the African Vision Research Institute (AVRI). Research and building research capacity has been a passion for Kovin. The institute builds research capacity and has to date registered masters and PhD research from Africa and Asia. The overwhelming number of requests to conduct research through the institute as well as the publications of the institute is a testament to its credibility, acclaim and impact.
Professor Naidoo is a Fulbright Scholar and was elected as an Ashoka Fellow and a Schwab Fellow and was a co-recipient of the African Social Entrepreneur of the year award in 2010 for his social entrepreneurial efforts in addressing the needs of those less privileged. The American Academy of Optometry awarded him the Essilor Award for outstanding contributions to Optometry in 2010, and the British College of Optometrists an honorary fellowship in 2009 for his contribution to the development of optometry in Africa and the developing world. He was African Optometrist of the Year, then International Optometrist of the Year in 2007. Prof. Naidoo is a member of the World Council of Optometry Governing Board; WHO Refractive Error Working Group; Founder and Chair of African Vision and Chair of the Red Cross Air Mercy Services board of Trustees among his many esteemed affiliations.