Dr. Chibwesha, Principal Investigator at the Women’s Cancer Research Department (WCRD), shares her experience
of collaborating with a virtual assistant who has played a vital role in streamlining administrative and
procurement processes for the department.
Can you give a brief description of your company?
- What does the company do?
- What is the company’s background?
The Women’s Cancer Research Department operates within the Clinical HIV Research Unit (CHRU), a division of
the Wits Health Consortium. We conduct clinical and qualitative research studies and provide cervical cancer
prevention clinical services to HIV-infected women. Since 2009, we’ve partnered with UNC-Wits-Right to Care
for Women’s Cancer Prevention, offering cervical screening to nearly 100,000 women across South Africa.
What challenges/problems is AVirtual solving for you?
We faced challenges related to procurement and inventory management. Additionally, the administrative
workload was becoming overwhelming, and we needed assistance in managing these tasks effectively.
What were you looking for in a solution?
We needed a solution that could address our administrative and procurement needs. To achieve this, we
created a procurement and inventory system and provided our virtual assistant, Lulu, with training on
the WHC procurement online platform. This enabled Lulu to manage the entire procurement process for
WCRD. Furthermore, we increased Lulu’s working hours to ensure she could assist with all
administrative tasks effectively.
What made our solution stand out over others that you researched?
During the COVID-19 lockdown, we urgently needed a virtual assistant to assist with administration and
procurement. We chose AVirtual due to the competitive quote we received for a 25-hour Virtual
How did your new virtual team member implement/introduce our
We initially started with a 25-hour per month package but upgraded it to 100 hours per month. As the
COVID-19 lockdown restrictions eased and the need for in-office assistance grew, we increased the
package to 140 hours per month, with Lulu working in the office four days a week. We have been
very happy with the work Lulu has produced and her ability to integrate with the team.
How has our solution helped since its implementation?
A6: The impact has been significant. I’ve been able to redirect my focus towards essential aspects of my work,
including meeting critical deadlines and focusing on grant development.
Has this solution saved your company money and/or increased
Lulu has played a crucial role in implementing and managing various processes to ensure the clinical trials
run smoothly and efficiently.
What do you find valuable in the services we provide?
AVirtual’s value lies in its attention to detail, timeliness in task completion, flexibility to cater to our
specific needs, and the maintenance of a high level of professionalism.
What have you been most impressed with?
Dr. Chibwesha has been impressed with the flexibility and professionalism of AVirtual’s virtual assistants.
The ability to recruit such flexible and professional assistance would have been challenging if they had
tried to recruit someone themselves. Dr. Chibwesha often shares this feedback with others.
What surprised you about us?
A pleasant surprise was when Lulu received the “Best Team Player” award for the Women’s Cancer Research
Department. Her excellent working relationship with other departments at CHRU is also noteworthy