CIO Awards nominee Dr Denisha Jairam-Owthar joins the Council for Medical Schemes


Denisha has left her mark in higher education, and is now planning to do the same in healthcare.

Dr Denisha Jairam-Owthar has been appointed CIO of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS). She’s entering the unfamiliar territory of healthcare, which is bursting with untapped technological advancements, she believes.

Denisha’s career spans across various sectors including the financial services sector, local municipality, education, and now healthcare. As a result, she brings a diverse set of skills to the Council for Medical Schemes. Prior to joining CMS, Denisha was chief director of ICT at the University of Stellenbosch, where she has been recognised with a nomination for the 2023 CIO Awards for her incredible contribution there.

“I am truly honoured to be part of this journey in South Africa,” she says. “Healthcare impacts every single citizen in the country either directly or indirectly: it is the work that comes from the heart that makes me most excited.”

Denisha says it’s vital to stay abreast of the latest technological advancements, but also understand them in both a South African and global context. “Technology is agnostic of any industry,” she says.

Denisha was drawn to the healthcare sector because of the huge influence it has on people’s lives, and the latest technological developments that have yet to be completely explored.

“Technology and science intersect to overcome health challenges that change the world for the better. It is in the health sector where women’s voices could be amplified because we are mothers and caregivers ourselves,” she adds. “As disruptive technology gains momentum, women therefore need to be included, we can no longer be sidelined, marginalised, ostracised or maimed – we need to set the technology agenda and own it.”

She holds a PhD in ICT from the University of South Africa, and an MBA in technology management from the same institution. She also completed a BCompt degree in accounting sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and a certificate in data science from the University of Berkeley, Los Angeles, California.

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