UKZN scientist and renowned researcher Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim has won the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World’s 2012 Prize for Medical Sciences ‘for her exceptional and distinguished contributions to HIV prevention and women's health’.

The Academy (TWAS) made the announcement during its 23rd General Meeting held in China recently.

TWAS awards are among the world’s most prestigious scientific prizes recognising scientific excellence in the developing world in the fields of agricultural sciences, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, engineering sciences, mathematics, physics and medical sciences. The prize includes an inscribed plaque, a certificate and an award of US$15 000.

Karim is Associate Scientific Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), Adjunct Professor of Public Health at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.

The TWAS award is in recognition of her significant scientific contributions spanning two decades of the HIV epidemic in southern Africa, especially her ground-breaking research on tenofovir gel as the first HIV prevention technology for women. This research, which was first presented at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, was hailed by the Science journal as among the Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs of 2010.

‘I am deeply humbled by the TWAS Prize in Medical Sciences. It has been an arduous but fascinating journey of scientific discovery for me,’ said Karim.

‘Every bit of the effort was worth it because the need for HIV prevention methods for women, especially in Africa, is critical and urgent. I hope my findings contribute to the dream of an AIDS-free generation and inspire today’s young scientists in Africa to pursue their dreams.’

Karim’s distinguished career is marked by her pivotal research achievements in HIV prevention at CAPRISA, her global leadership role as Co-chair of the NIH funded HIV Prevention Trials Network, and being Co-chair of the Scientific Programme of the 2012 International AIDS Conference held in Washington recently.

Professor George Gao of the Beijing Institute of Microbiology also received a TWAS Prize in Medical Sciences for his work on influenza.

* TWAS is an autonomous international organisation founded in 1983 in Trieste, Italy, by a distinguished group of scientists from the South under the leadership of the late Nobel Laureate, Abdus Salam of Pakistan. Officially launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1985, TWAS represents the best of science in developing countries with its main mission being to promote scientific excellence and capacity in the South for science-based sustainable development.

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A UKZN welcome party was on hand to cheer in the University’s Apalis solar car when it made an overnight stop in Pietermaritzburg lying in second place in the challenge class of the 2012 SASOL Solar Challenge.

The race, which began in Pretoria on 18 September, attracted 13 cars which are navigating a 5 400km circuit using only solar energy.

At the end of day seven, the UKZN team had covered 1 493 km, nearly twice the mileage of other South African university entrants.

The Apalis solar car was conceived as a final year design project in the School of Engineering under the Solar Energy Research Group (SERG) led by two Mechanical Engineering Lecturers, Mr Clinton Bemont and Ms Kirsty Veale.

The car has a lightweight carbon fibre body and chassis supported by an aluminium and chromoly sub-chassis. It is powered by 6m2 of state of the art silicon solar cells, charging a bank of 464 lithium-ion batteries, which drive a high efficiency electric motor.

SASOL Solar Challenge spokesman, Mr Winstone Jordaan, said the race featured four types of vehicle class - the three-wheel Challenge Class vehicles, the four-wheel Olympia vehicles, the Adventure Class and the Technology Demonstration Class. Each class placed special requirements on the vehicle.

Jordaan said he was impressed with the UKZN team’s efforts and felt they had a bright future in the competition. He said the calibre of the South African University entrants was generally high and looked forward to them challenging the Japanese teams in the future.

When UKZN’s car arrived at the Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg on an overnight stop recently, enthusiastic members of the University community – including Professor Cristina Trois, Professor Albert Modi and Professor Glen Bright – were there to show enthusiastic support.

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Academic Leader for the Development Cluster in the School of Social Sciences, Professor Stephen Mutula, recently received the Capurro Fiek Foundation for Information Ethics (CFFIE) Award for his distinguished and exemplary scholarly contribution to the development of information ethics in Africa.

Sponsored by the CFFIE, formerly the European Centre of Information Ethics (ECIE) in Germany, Mutula was recognised by a team of scholars in Africa, Europe and North America who are instrumental in creating awareness about informational ethics in Africa.

The award was presented to Mutula by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor Cheryl de la Rey, at the third Africa Conference for Information Ethics, held in Pretoria. Mutula received a monetary reward, a trophy and a certificate of excellence.

Mutula is proud of his award as it shows his commitment to promoting the responsible – moral and ethical – use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the information society in Africa.

‘This is very important to me because the increased use of new ICTs such as social media in education has ethical ramifications that must be addressed now rather than later to leverage its impact in collaborative learning and research,’ said Mutula.

Mutula joined UKZN in September 2011 from the University of Botswana and is a prolific scholar and author. Among his publications are three books: Digital Economies, SMEs and E-readiness; Web-based Information Management: A Cross Disciplinary Approach; and Information and Knowledge Management in the Digital Age: Concepts, Technologies and African Perspectives.

Mutula has previously won several international awards from Emerald (one of the world’s leading scholarly publishers of journals and books in business and management) for his outstanding contribution to scholarly research and publications in the areas of information society, information poverty, e-government, financing of university education, digital libraries and e-readiness. In addition, he serves on more than a dozen international editorial boards of reputable scholarly journals.

According to Mutula, his recent award gives him ‘added impetus to strive and advocate for integration of information ethics in the curricula at university and school level, as well as encourage postgraduate research in the area’.

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Professor Lindy Stiebel and Mr Niall McNulty of English Studies have developed a North Coast Writers Trail for avid literary tourists.

The literary tourism duo both worked tirelessly to create a niche area which links writers, places and their works through literary tourism.

The trail visits particular settings from a story and tracks down places linked to a writer, such as a birthplace, home or burial site.

Well-known writers from the North Coast including Mafika Gwala, Dianne Stewart, Rosamund Kendal and BP Singh are focused on. Some of the sites that make the trail interesting are the first sugarcane mill at Morewood, the Chief Albert Luthuli Museum and the burial site of King Shaka.

‘We developed a partnership with the Ilembe Municipality based at Ballito to train up to 10 community guides to run this literary trail and provide knowledge to tourists and visitors. We had three days of training that included workshops and practical sessions in the field,’ said Stiebel

‘The guides were chosen based on their interest in writing, culture and heritage tourism.’

She said it had been a challenge to create connections between writers, their works and related sites but they managed it. The feedback from those who have done the trail with the community guides has been positive and enlightening.

‘We had to go on research trips to the places, take photos and get interesting information about the writers. It was a lot of fun to find out about the North Coast, its writers and related places and we got to learn the most fascinating things,’ said McNulty.

Stiebel and McNulty are currently working on compiling a book: A Literary Guide to KZN that will feature information gathered over 10 years from the KwaZulu-Natal Literary Tourism project and its related trails and writers’ profiles.

For more information on the trails visit

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UKZN has won a coveted Gold Certificate at the 2012 Sunday Tribune Garden Show in Pietermaritzburg.

The University stand, organised by the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, also won gold at the Royal Show earlier this year.

To win a Garden Show Gold a stand must receive more than 85 percent. Exhibits are judged on a number of criteria including interpretation of theme, overall impression and technical competence. Standards were very high and the competition was fierce with contestants coming from as far afield as Cape Town and Pretoria.

The theme of the 2012 Garden Show was Garden meets Art and in response the UKZN stand created an interesting fusion of postgraduate art work, food art, and horticulture.

While Dietetics students from the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences created funky creatures from food, the Discipline of Horticulture supplied plants from the University’s Botanical Gardens, along with information on pigments from plant extracts.

Mingled among the flora was impressive artwork produced by postgraduate students from UKZN’s School of Arts. A fuschia-coloured creation of floral paintings done with natural pigments dominated one corner; while a series of prints freshly back from the Olympic Games took up the remainder of the stand. These focused on fairness and equality as represented by the legendary story of Lady Godiva - a feisty lady who rode her horse naked through the town to protest her husband’s taxing of his tenants.

The judging panel said they were impressed by UKZN’s imaginative use of natural materials to make art and the fact that students’ work was incorporated into the stand.

UKZN’s stand was organised by College Public Relations Officer Ms Swasti Maney, with input from the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the School of Arts.

‘Without the support of the Schools, our gold medal would have been impossible,’ said Maney. ‘I am extremely grateful for their help.’

School Manager for Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Mr Brendan Boyce said: ‘The SAEES team performed again under tremendous time constraints and delivered the goods. Well done.

‘Congratulations, folks!’ said School Dean, Professor Albert Modi. ‘This goes a long way in promoting the University image.’

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UKZN’s Discipline of Nursing hosted a retirement party for former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Leana Uys, whose career as an academic and leading researcher spanned four decades during which time she earned many honours.

Uys set the benchmark as the first nurse in South Africa to hold the position of DVC. Since the start of her career she distinguished herself through an array of leadership achievements and developed into a respected and recognised international leader in the nursing profession.

She is held in high regard for her participative leadership style in her interaction with colleagues and in the projects she manages. Her initiatives have been to the benefit of the nursing profession globally and her work characteristic of expertise and dedication to the upliftment of the nursing profession through collaborative interaction.

Professor Busi Ncama, Dean of the School of Nursing and Public health, recalled experiences working with Uys. ‘Professor Uys instilled in me the ability to lead in a participative manner and to always strive to be the best I could be. I recall the time when I had my first child and wanted to defer my studies to be a stay-at-home mum. Professor Uys motivated me to achieve the right balance between studies, work and family. I value her as a friend, mentor and academic.’

The retirement party, attended by Uys’s closest friends and colleagues, was a bitter-sweet occasion. Many of her former students expressed fond memories of being coached by an esteemed academic, driven by the need to uplift the community through the provision of professional, ethical nursing education.

In spite of being so academically-driven, speakers echoed that Uys took a special interest in everyone’s families. Her personal touch and caring manner earned her the nickname “Big Mama”!

Some of Professor Uys’s greatest achievements include winning the 2009/2010 Most Influential Women in Business and Government Award in the Education and Training Sector, an honorary life membership and patron of the Nursing Education Association of South Africa, winner of the Mary Tolle Wright Award for excellence in leadership and being recognised a B-rated researcher by the National Research Foundation.

Her closing words to the guests were: ‘Keep me on the mailing list as I want to know what each of you are doing. Your work and professional growth inspires me.’

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Ngenhloso yokwakha ubudlelwano nokubambisana kwezocwaningo, abafundisi ababili abavela e-Islamic University of Gaza bavakashele e-UKZN ukuzoxoxisana ngalokhu.

Izihambeli bekunguSolwazi Mohammed M. Shabat oyi- Vice-President for Academic Affairs noDkt As’ad Y oyi- Vice-President for External Relations abahlanganyele nabafundisi abahlukene kubalwa kubo noMphathi wezocwaningo e-UKZN uSolwazi Cheryl Potgieter.

I-Islamic University of Gaza inabafundi abangu 21 000, izikole ezingu 11, kugxilwa kakhulu kucwaningo kwezobunjiniyela.

Izingxoxo ziveze izindawo kwezokufunda ezihambisanayo phakathi kwamaNyuvesi womabili, kwenza nezihambeli zakujabulela ukuthi bangaletha abafundi babo abaneziqu bazoqhuba izifundo zabo.

Abafuna ukukwenza ngokushesha ukuba iGaza ilethe abafundi babo abenza izifundo zePhD bazobhalisa lapha eNyuvesi. Ophethe ezocwaningo ekolishini lakwaHumanities, uSolwazi Sarojini Nadar ukhulume ngemikhakha yabo nangezindlela abangabambisana ngazo ezingeni labafundi abaneziqu.

USolwazi Deresh Ramjugernath wesikole sezobunjiniyela e-UKZN ukhulume kakhulukazi ngezindlela okungabanjiswana ngazo nangendlela womabili amanyuvesi angazuza ngayo.

Umhlangano uphothulwe ngesivumelwano sokuthi i-UKZN izosayinda isivumelwano sokusebenzisana (Memorandum of Understanding) nenyuvesi yaseGaza.

Click here for English version

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Professor Thomas Afullo of the the School of Engineering delivered his Inaugural UKZN Lecture presentation at the Howard College Theatre.

Afullo’s presentation was adapted from an invited paper he delivered at the IEEE Wireless Vitae Conference in Chennai, India, in March last year. The lecture detailed the progress in radio-climatological modelling in Africa with a focus on the trunk or toll transmission network under both clear-air and precipitation conditions.

The 10-year research work in southern Africa was compared against other work done in east and central Africa where Afullo has masters and PhD students.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Professor Rob Slotow, welcomed Afullo and all the guests to the event.

Slotow said the inauguration was an important step as it represented the recognition of Afullo as an expert in his field and thus an eminent leader in his research area. He went further to say that this was particularly relevant to South Africa and Africa in general, given the “applied nature” of engineering.

Professor Cristina Trois, Dean and Head of the School of Engineering, introduced Afullo to those in the audience saying he was a ‘good friend, a good Professor and a good colleague’ who always gave of his best.

Guests included various academic leaders from UKZN; Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Durban University of Technology, Professor Fred Otieno and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Mangosuthu University of Technology Professor Marcus Ramogale; Afullo’s Masters and PhD students; his colleagues in the School of Engineering; his wife, Afline, and family friends.

The one-hour lecture was enthusiastically received, with the Head of Research at the School of Engineering, Dr Leigh Jarvis, giving the vote of thanks.

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UKZN attended the annual meeting of the United Nations Association of South Africa (UN-ASA) at the University of Cape Town where the Model United Nations (MUN) topped the agenda.

MUN is a simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, diplomacy and the United Nations programme.

UKZN’s newly established chapter was represented by its founder and Chairperson, Mr Samuel Fikiri Cinini, a postgraduate student in the Department of Criminology.

Established in 2003, UNA-SA is a non-governmental organisation whose aims and objectives are to support the principles, goals and programmes of the United Nations (UN) and its agencies. The organisation comprises chapters – mainly university based and student driven - located throughout South Africa.

UNA-SA aims to harness the energy of these chapters to foster economic, social and cultural progress in South Africa. The organisation’s activities include encouraging and facilitating research, organising conferences to encourage debate as well as initiating programmes that raise awareness about the United Nations and its work.

Cinini introduced the UNASA-UKZN Chapter at the Conference and asked for support to ensure the Chapter impacts on the lives of people in communities in KwaZulu-Natal.

Confident the UKZN Chapter will embody the aspirations of UN-ASA, Cinini explained: ‘The Chapter’s objectives are to conduct projects based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The main priorities of UN-ASA-UKZN for 2013 will focus on some of the objectives of the MDGs including achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women; combating HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and ensuring environmental sustainability.

‘The above themes include conferences and workshops that will be run in 2013,’ said Cinini.

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Masters students Mr Mdu Rhini and Mr Riyaz Vawda attended the 12th World Leisure Congress in Rimini in Italy where they presented their research before leading international leisure scientists.

The congress - which focused on economic, territorial, industrial and socio-cultural transformations under the theme: Leisure and Transformation - united academics, educators, students, researchers, professionals, government officials, and representatives from non-governmental organisations in the field of leisure, recreation, tourism, and sports

Representatives discussed academic, social, industrial and political issues and concerns.

Also part of the World Leisure Congress’s new Future Leaders Programme, Rhini and Vawda were congratulated by UKZN Leisure Sciences Lecturer, Ms Maliga Naidoo, who is President of the Leisure and Recreation Association of South Africa (LARASA) and Board Member for the World Leisure Organisation.

Naidoo said the programme would groom 40 international students to sit on the Board of World Leisure.

Rhini’s study investigated lifestyle risk factors that contribute to non-communicable diseases in rural areas. He said the African continent was no longer considered safe from diseases of affluence and his research was inspired by the persistent rise in obesity and its national coverage determination.

Vawda conducted an investigation of urban parks and playgrounds which promote healthy lifestyles among children. ‘Due to the constant advancement in technology and lack of park and playground facilities children are not getting the physical activity levels necessary for a healthy development,’ said Vawda.

His study confirmed parks and playgrounds had an important role to play in promoting a healthier and more active lifestyle. Vawda believes in promoting healthy lifestyles from a young age.

Both Rhini and Vawda are set on doing their PhDs at UKZN.

Rhini is involved in soccer while Vawda represented South Africa in the Karate Championship held in Japan in 2008.

They train regularly in the gymnasium at UKZN and said aside from stress relief and boosting energy levels, daily exercise prevents diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

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The annual Industrial Conservancy Seminar hosted on the Edgewood campus by the Richmond Mariannhill Industrial Conservancy and the UKZN Conservancy illustrated that conservation takes many forms especially when there is a passionate individual or group driving a project.

Guest speaker Professor Julia Botha highlighted the successes and challenges of the UKZN Conservancy, stressing the important role played by the body in decisions regarding development on the campuses.

‘The role of the Conservancy is illustrated by the beautiful indigenous gardens present on all campuses, but it also highlights the threat of development of sensitive areas such as grasslands and forests into concrete jungles. The battle is not yet won, and some architects still do not value our indigenous heritage!’ she said.

Mr Andrew Whitley from the Wildlands Conservation Trust (WCT) gave an overview of the WCT work in KwaZulu-Natal, highlighting the successes of the “tree–preneurship” programme.

‘Due to this project, over a million indigenous trees have been grown by historically poor communities for tokens that can be used for food, airtime and even bicycles! The work by Wildlands also extends to community litter clean-ups, and includes an extensive recycling programme (“waste-preneurs”),’ he said.

The talk was illustrated by a powerful video clip which reinforced the impact of this programme on the community.

Ms Penny Rees from the Dusi uMngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) shared some of her experiences during an epic 301km walk along the uMngeni River in May 2012. Her story highlighted the damaging effects of human intervention along one of KwaZulu-Natal’s most important catchment areas.

Dr Joy Coleman, Edgewood Environmental Forum (EEF) Chairperson, said: ‘Hosting this annual seminar is important in that members of the community get an idea of some of the environmental initiatives in the immediate area - and of course there is a chance to network.

She pointed out that river walks are planned in the future along this and other rivers with people encouraged to participate to see for themselves the harm being caused to the environment.

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Students from UKZN’s School of Health Sciences together with various governmental and non-governmental organisations recently offered free primary healthcare services to children living with disabilities in the rural district of iLembe.

The intervention programme held at the Ntathakusa Primary School in Ndwedwe was the first of its kind.

The partnership was formed when representatives from the Tongaat Hulett group approached the Health Sciences Disciplines at UKZN on behalf of desperate parents and caregivers of children with disabilities who are members of the local sugarcane farming community.

Ms Nkonzo Mhlongo, Socio-Economic Development Manager for Tongaat Hulett, said the provincial Departments of Health (DoH) and Social Development teamed up with the local King Shaka non-governmental organisation for people with disabilities.

Final-year students from the Disciplines of Audiology, Dentistry, Occupational Therapy and Speech Language Pathology joined Stanger Hospital nurses in the provision of a variety of primary health screening services.

Mhlongo said the intervention aimed to assess children with disabilities in the community. The results would be evaluated and lead to programmes being designed to assist parents, caregivers and educators in the community to address children’s specific needs.

Parents and caregivers also used the opportunity for free screening and hospital referrals were made in special instances.

Dr Penelope Flack, Academic Leader for the Discipline of Speech-Language Therapy at UKZN, said the University would continue to play its part in developing educational programmes for parents and educators to better understand how to manage children living with disabilities.

Flack said iLembe had a strong community structure and in line with the DoH re-engineering of primary healthcare, such interventions were critical.

Flack said a holistic approach to healthcare was needed and recalled two successful projects being run in the School of Health Sciences at the neighbouring KwaDabeka and Marianridge communities. She said experiential learning was essential for students in the School.

Mrs Nobuhle Nzimande, HOD of the hosting School, said the intervention was vital as many parents struggled with raising children with disabilities.

Mr Sibongiseni Chamane, an Educator at the School, said they were very grateful health services had been brought into the underdeveloped community which had limited access to basic healthcare. ‘We hope to see more and more interventions of this nature.’

Ms Nadhira Ramnat and Ms Fathima Suleman, students from the Audiology Discipline, said they both had family members who were deaf, and screening for hearing loss on the day had been an uplifting experience.

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The office of the College Dean of Teaching and Learning in Law and Management Studies hosted a day-long workshop on Problem-based Learning (PBL) which was facilitated by Dr Fayth Ruffin of the School of Management, IT and Governance.

Ruffin said: ‘Problem-based learning is a student-centred teaching and learning modality designed to develop critical thinking and analytical skills and abilities.

'Although controversial, PBL is "international property", being used across multiple continents and through many disciplines including health sciences, law, accounting, engineering, ICT, management and public administration.’

One of the participants, Ms Robyn Basnett, a Lecturer in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, said, ‘As a relatively new academic, I am constantly trying to understand and achieve the best "teaching and learning" for my students. Problem-based Learning offers a brilliant alternative to the traditional lecture-centred approach, and is something that I will be trying to incorporate in my own course.’

Basnett added that she believed PBL had excellent potential for UKZN’s students as a whole.

The workshop provided participants with the opportunity to see how other academics approach their courses while interrogating the module templates gave them the chance to actually focus on the objectives and teaching approach towards their courses.

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Seven Community Development postgraduate students from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (SBEDS) recently attended an internship meeting at which they were given vital information on the importance of internships and how they can help uplift communities.

‘This meeting was a good opportunity for students and organisations to share their expectations of each other as well as available internship opportunities,’ said Community Development lecturer and internship programme co-ordinator, Ms Phindile Shangase.

‘Students find face-to-face interaction with organisation managers very useful and it also helps in clarifying roles and expectations.’

Shangase pointed out that meetings of this nature helped students sharpen their skills. ‘Students get familiar with current development issues as well as the application of current government policies through presentations by organisations such as Project Empower - which works with women in informal settlements on HIV/AIDS prevention - and the Children’s Rights Centre, which engages with children and their issues of abuse and neglect.'

Health Officer at the Children’s Rights Centre, Mr Kyle Ballard, said the interns would attend an induction followed by training workshops with children. ‘It is a truly gratifying experience to be involved in community development and as interns you can make a difference,’ he said.

Shangase plans to organise more internship meetings with a “Starting your own business” presentation to be hosted by SEEDA.

‘I feel it’s important for students to know they can set up their own businesses even on a small scale as the unemployment rate is high among young people in South Africa at the moment.’

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Final-year students in the Disciplines of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology presented stimulating research before family, friends and academic leaders during an annual Research Day on the Westville campus.

Dr Penelope Flack and Dr Neethie Joseph, Academic Leaders in the sister Disciplines, said it was very important for any professional degree to equip final year students with adequate research skills. They said evidence-based learning was embedded in the Disciplines which were driven by a strong community engagement ethos.

The prize for best paper in Audiology went to students Ms Linah Maseko, Ms Silindile Mhlongo and Ms Nompumelelo Mzimbomvu for a group study titled: “The knowledge of mothers in the Durban central region regarding hearing loss in infants”.

The group said South Africa lacked policies of neonatal hearing screening and the study targeted mothers because they were in constant contact with babies.

Also highlighted was that hearing loss is the most common birth defect – 2 000 babies are born daily in the world with hearing loss while the figure in South Africa is 17 a day. The students said literacy levels, cultural and socio-economic issues as well a high disease burden in South Africa influenced the knowledge of mothers regarding hearing loss in infants.

From a study population of more than 100 mothers, the group found that an average of 48.6 percent knew the risk factors associated with hearing loss in infants; 42, 14 percent knew the causes; 60, 78 percent had good knowledge on identifying the signs; and 41.68 percent knew about audiological services.

Ms Maryam Bodhanya, Ms Kimeshree Moodley and Ms Hlumela Silimela won the prize for best paper in Speech Language Pathology for their study titled: “The prevalence of HIV positive adult patients presenting with neurologically acquired communication disorders (NACDs) in the eThekwini District between the years 2009-2011”.

The study found that a high prevalence in adults of NACDs caused by HIV highlighted the chronic nature of HIV and its unique impact on communication, swallowing and quality of life. The group said there was a need to understand the prevalence of NACDs in HIV positive patients as this impacted on their role in managing patients more holistically, improving their communicative functioning in their environment and hence their quality of life.

Professor Johan van Heerden, Academic Leader for Research in the School of Health Sciences, said he was impressed with the overall quality and standard of research presented. ‘All the papers presented were novel and topical.’ He also said as far as research was concerned, there was still a bigger picture as the judges wanted to see the papers published in a journal.

Students were also congratulated by Professor Mershon Pillay of the University of Stellenbosch, an alumnus of UKZN and one of the judges at the Research Day.

Pillay said UKZN’s College of Health Sciences compared favourably with other institutions of higher learning in the country and internationally.

The range of presentations delivered included studies on the psychosocial experiences of adolescent learners who stutter and the impediment’s impact on their quality of life; and the knowledge, perceptions and attitudes of young adults towards developing a noise induced hearing loss due to recreational activities.

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FINAL YEAR STUDENTS SHOWCASE RESEARCH IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPYThe Discipline of Occupational Therapy recently held its Annual Research Day which showcased outstanding research conducted by final year students aimed at benefiting communities in Durban.

In line with the Discipline’s ethos for social responsibility, the winning presentation was a case study at the eThekwini District’s Markets of Warwick Junction titled: “The Exploration of Accessibility in a 'Culturally Rich Architecture' for people with physical disabilities”. 

Creating an awareness of the role occupational therapy plays in advocacy and empowerment of people with disabilities in economic, social and cultural environments, students Miss Jasmine Anderson, Miss Prashika Ghela, Miss Perusha Govender, Miss Nausheena Hoosen and Miss Halima Khan visited Warwick Junction, observing challenges concerning access for persons with physical disabilities. 

Supervised by Ms Pragashnie Naidoo and Ms Helga Koch, the students said: ‘According to UNICEF (2008), any area which is accessible to the public including buildings, roads, schools and hospitals, should ensure barrier free accessibility for able-bodied and disabled persons, which coincided with existing literature emphasising  the ultimate goal of universal access for all disabled individuals. 
Reports from the research participants in this study were that persons with physical disabilities experienced difficulties accessing all nine markets, ablution facilities and transport facilities. Certain risk and safety factors would need to be implemented. 

The researchers said an in-depth environmental survey of the Warwick markets was due and recommended environmental and structural changes that would benefit the physically disabled including improved staircases and ramps, railings, ablution facilities, floor finishes, parking facilities, safety procedures, sidewalks and lifts.

Professor Miriam Adhikari, Research Co-ordinator and one of the adjudicators on the day, said they were impressed by the presentations and excellent topics. ‘Each group presented well with good findings, conclusions and what can be done to resolve the problem. We hope the work will be published.’ 

Another group explored the experiences of primary caregivers dealing with people living with dementia in the Inanda District. They reported that caregivers took this role in their stride and did not view the experience as a negative one, despite the associated challenges and difficulties in caregiving for a dementia sufferer in a rural context. 

Dementia is commonly characterised by memory loss, changes in personality, deterioration in personal care, impaired reasoning ability and disorientation. 

A study looking at factors influencing meaningful engagement in education for children from refugee backgrounds in the eThekwini district found there were positive and negative factors that needed to be considered. 

The researchers identified language, age, availability of services for children with special learning needs and bullying as barriers leading to occupational deprivation in a child’s engagement in education. 
The study recorded poverty and trauma as common problems, stating that misconceptions about what a refugee is and the closure of refugee reception centres were additional barriers from external factors.
Adjudicators also lauded a study investigating the perceptions of life after HIV and its impact on occupational life choices in HIV positive individuals on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the greater eThekwini area. 

Professor Robin Joubert, Academic Leader in the Discipline, supervised a study investigating the perceptions of physically disabled young adults about crime in the eThekwini region. 
Joubert said occupational therapy was a growing discipline particularly concerned with improving the quality of life for all. ‘You can save somebody’s life but if you do not improve their quality of life then what is the point.’

Joubert said it was important to broaden the scope of occupational therapy to take on preventative measures and minimise risk, even for individuals who would be otherwise described as “able bodied”. 
‘Occupational Therapy training in KwaZulu-Natal is only offered at UKZN. I’m very impressed with the final-years - they’ve come a long way and today presented a jolly good end product.’

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The College of Humanities’ Student Support Services hosted a successful career exhibition for Humanities students on the Howard College campus recently.

Co-ordinated by the Career Development Officer, Ms Edista Ngubane, the event provided students with the opportunity to collaborate, network and sustain relationships with employers who offer full-time, part-time and vacation work.

‘Students were able to find out about their career choices and also benefit from the services offered by the organisations,’ said Ngubane.

Being the first time Humanities has hosted a dedicated career exhibition for its students, it was rolled out on a small scale with the following companies represented: the South African Police Services, the Department of Labour, TEACH SA and Eduloan.

Ngubane said the large number of Humanities students who attended had been excited and motivated by the opportunities presented.

A bigger and better event is planned for next year with at least 10 companies participating. The ultimate aim is to have more companies recruiting from the Humanities College.

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