KNOW THE SA BILL OF RIGHTS, SAYS LEGAL LEGEND

KNOW THE SA BILL OF RIGHTS, SAYS LEGAL LEGEND

Every student and staff member at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) should be taught about the Bill of Rights, says retired Constitutional Court judge, Zakeria Yacoob.

Yacoob was speaking at a public lecture titled: Achieving a Constitutional Order on the Westville campus this week to commemorate Human Rights Day.

Yacoob, a UKZN alumnus, encouraged everyone to look inwards to check whether their behaviour was in line with the standard expected in a constitutional society.  He said in order for people to achieve the “constitutional project” they should play a role in teaching society about the Bill of Rights.

Human Rights were not only for lawyers and law school and should not be the only place where the Bill of Rights was studied.

Yacoob said every student and staff member at UKZN should be taught about the Bill of Rights.  He suggested that every new student should receive a copy of the Bill of Rights and that “experts” should be assigned to speak to students on the kind of human beings they should be.

The Constitution cared for everyone and protected vulnerable people. ‘We don’t wish to live in a society where vulnerable people are trampled on,’ he said.

He condemned the wide spread corruption in South Africa but believed it was a two-way process with businesses sometimes preying on poor government employees making it hard for them to resist bribes.

In response to a question about the return of the death penalty, Yacoob said it had been proven that capital punishment did not reduce crime, adding that the culture of South African society had to change.

The lecture’s Programme Director, Professor Anesh Singh of the Graduate School of Business and Leadership, pledged to send a copy of the Bill of Rights to all his 150 students. 

* Yacoob completed his BA LLB at the University of Durban-Westville at the end of 1972 and practised at the then Natal Bar as junior and senior counsel until 31 January, 1998.

He was a member of the negotiation process for a democratic South Africa and in particular was a member of the committee responsible for the finalisation of the Bill of Rights in the Interim Constitution, a member of the IEC that was responsible for South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994 and a member of the Independent Panel of Experts that advised the Constitutional Assembly in relation to the draft of the final Constitution.

Yacoob retired as a judge of the Constitutional Court after 15 years of service on 31 January this year.

While in practice as an advocate, in addition to commercial work, he was engaged in community activities, a member of the underground of the ANC, defended political prisoners charged under the unjust apartheid laws, and handled court cases to assist victims of detention, house arrest and other restrictive orders.

author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

WORLD RUNNING OUT OF WATER AND SOIL, SAYS US PROFESSOR

WORLD RUNNING OUT OF WATER AND SOIL, SAYS US PROFESSOR

Professor Jerry Nelson of the University of Missouri recently visited UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences to give a lecture on: Intensive Sustainability, a Modern Perspective. 

Nelson credentials are impressive! He has 45 years of experience as a crop scientist, has edited seven books, written 28 book chapters and published 250 papers. For the last 15 years, Nelson has focused on international food issues.

Nelson’s thought-provoking lecture was attended by more than 100 academics, technicians and students representing the 13 disciplines of the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, as well as scientists and practitioners from outside the University.

In his talk, Nelson warned that the world was running out of the infinite agricultural resources of land (soil) and water.  Some 80 percent of fresh water was used for agriculture and it competed with other human needs.

The need to take into consideration the views of consumers and policy makers in scientific planning and implementation was highlighted as becoming more important, in order to address economic values, social values and environmental values.

Nelson recommended that to achieve realistic sustainability, certain factors were prerequisites, namely: biotechnology and genetic engineering; water management for global climate change; management of energy use and biofuel production; and reasonable methods to evaluate non-productive values.

Environmental Scientist and Geography Lecturer, Dr Mark Dent, said afterwards: ‘Thanks so much for bringing Professor Jerry Nelson to speak to us. I was delighted at the turnout and hope that all got as much out of the talk as I did. He is an amazing human being and so balanced.  And his lecture provided an absorbing topic.’


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

BOOK ON MANAGEMENT OF HIV AND TB DRUG RESISTANCE LAUNCHED

BOOK ON MANAGEMENT OF HIV AND TB DRUG RESISTANCE LAUNCHED

HIV and TB: Drug Resistance and Clinical Management Case Book - a book co-authored by two academics from the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies - has been presented to frontline health workers at a workshop in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

The Centre’s Dr Richard Lessells and Dr Tulio de Oliveira wrote the book with the University of Pretoria’s Dr Theresa Rossouw.

According to de Oliveira, the aim of the book was to create awareness and understanding of the issues related to the management of HIV and TB drug resistance. ‘We felt this is important given the increasingly complex case mix facing frontline health care workers in South Africa with the rapid scale-up of antiretroviral therapy and the ongoing epidemic of drug-resistant TB.

‘Among the top challenges of the HIV and TB epidemics are issues related to patient adherence to their antiretroviral and anti-TB drug regimens and the absence of reliable tools to measure adherence,’ said de Oliveira.

The workshop was attended by 52 clinicians, senior nurses and pharmacists based in five hospitals in the uMkhanyakude District. Also present were HIV and TB specialists from the Africa Centre, the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban, and representatives from Botswana.

The event facilitated a discussion of common clinical management challenges related to the management of HIV and TB drug resistance and treatment failure within a rural district with a huge dual burden of HIV and TB. The factors that contribute to suboptimal adherence were explored in group discussion sessions and the importance of thinking beyond patient factors and thinking more broadly about health system factors and community factors were emphasised.

The complexities of the management of co-infections, especially involving multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB (pulmonary and extra-pulmonary) and HIV with high-level resistance to the standard first-line regimens, were also discussed. All these challenges were explored in the context of primary health care clinics and district hospitals where there are still critical shortages of human resources and limited access to advanced diagnostic and monitoring facilities.

Dr Hervey Vaughan-Williams, District Family Physician at the uMkhanyakude Health District Office, said: ‘I think it was a great success on a number of levels, not least the number of District staff attracted to attend. Gatherings such as these are valuable both for District staff education and bonding between institutions, which is invaluable in times of stress or crisis, as well as enriching the working environment.’

A total of 250 copies of the book, published by the Medical Research Council (MRC), were given free-of-charge to the five hospitals to be distributed to clinicians; nurses and pharmacists involved in managing HIV and TB cases at the hospitals and primary health care clinics.

‘The book is a compilation of informative clinical cases from South Africa that together highlight some of the major challenges that clinicians face in the management of HIV and TB drug resistance and that also illustrate some of the important lessons to be learnt in trying to limit the spread of drug resistance in our programmes and communities,’ said de Oliveira.

The book was published under an open source licence and is thus freely available in print and also in electronic form at the Southern African Treatment Resistance Network (SATuRN) website (www.bioafrica.net/saturn) The free distribution of the book was made possible through the generous support of the European Commission, CDC and the Wellcome Trust.


author email : francism@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN LECTURER ELECTED TO OPERATIONAL RESEARCH SOCIETY OF SA

UKZN LECTURER ELECTED TO OPERATIONAL RESEARCH SOCIETY OF SA

Dr Aderemi Adewumi, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, was recently elected Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Chapter of the Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA).

The appointment automatically makes him a member of the national executive committee of the society. 

ORSSA is a non-profit, scholarly organisation with the mission of furthering the interests of those engaged in, or interested in, Operations Research (OR) activities.

The society is affiliated to the International Federation of Operations Research (IFORS), an umbrella organisation comprising the national Operations Research societies of over 45 countries from four geographical regions with a total membership of over 30 000. The mission of ORSSA and IFORS is to promote Operations Research as an academic discipline and a profession.

ORSSA is continually involved in matters which concern operations researchers, such as organising conferences at which papers on OR-related topics are delivered; drawing up guidelines for OR education; presenting short courses on specialist topics in OR; marketing OR at secondary school level; providing information to the public on the nature of OR; and providing information to students at tertiary level on career opportunities in OR.

Activities of the society are arranged by five regional chapters, including KwaZulu-Natal.  The chapters organise annual activities including seminars, workshops and panel discussions. Case studies, theoretical work and new technology are typically presented and discussed at these get-togethers.

Apart from Operations Research, topics in related areas of interest such as statistics, decision support systems, expert systems, the management sciences and industrial engineering are covered.

As KwaZulu-Natal Chairman, Adewumi said he aimed to promote a wider knowledge of the techniques and practices of OR in the province by organising a series of annual events such as colloquia, workshops and student competitions.

Recently, one of Adewumi’s students, Ms Annaliza Moodley, won the ORSSA national award for the best 4th year project on the topic which was titled:  Portfolio Selection with Heuristic Optimization.

The award, which put the name of UKZN in the ORSSA Hall of Fame, was made at the 2012 annual conference of ORSSA where Adewumi and his research group presented six papers which dealt with intelligent and heuristics solutions to a number of real-world optimisation problems such as annual crop planning, sport league scheduling, blood assignment in blood banking, and the early detection of type 2 diabetics (T2D). 

Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Professor Kesh Govinder, said:  ‘We wish Dr Adewumi a successful tenure as he serves the OR body at both provincial and national level.’


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

WORKSHOP ON CURRENT ISSUES IN MEDICAL ETHICS

WORKSHOP ON CURRENT ISSUES IN MEDICAL ETHICS

Both young and seasoned researchers from the College of Health Sciences (CHS) attended a presentation at a Women in Leadership and Leverage Committee (WILL) workshop by Professor Jerome Singh, Head of Ethics and Law at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).

Singh, who spoke on current issues in medical ethics, told the audience about the consequences of being insensitive to sex and gender issues in the “concept and conduct” of research. He said a valuable opportunity was lost when researchers did not ask the right type of questions in studies that could result in policy changes.

‘If you are doing research you have a moral obligation and a scientific obligation to ensure that you ask relevant questions, and that your relevant questions have social value in the context in which they are asked.’

Singh said one of the major challenges was that when research was being designed, and studies taken into account, participants were usually not considered from the gendered perspective. ‘In other words we look at a generic research question.’

He said issues of sex and gender should be considered in not only the conception, design and implementation processes, but also in terms of policies as well as it saved time and money, in addition to improving the efficacy of policies implemented at the end of a study.

Singh explained that if researchers were not sensitive about who they are enrolling in the study the results of the study were not as widely applicable as they could have been. ‘You must consider whether there are sex issues or gender issues implicit in the research question.’

His presentation questioned how effective it was to promote medical male circumcision (MMC) for HIV prevention in young men if the potential risks and benefits explained during the counselling process were not gendered.

He explained that the efficacy of MMC in preventing HIV was based on a study done on heterosexual males and not men who have sex with men (MSM). He said the risk profile of the latter group, bisexual men and men who have sex with multiple and concurrent partners needed to be discussed with all males who volunteer for MMC.

Singh said it was equally important to consider whether policies should be implemented the same way for men and women, boys and girls, young girls in puberty and for women undergoing menopause.

He elaborated on how individuals infected with HIV were surviving longer, especially with the introduction of antiretroviral treatment. ‘What we have still not found out is how, for example, antiretroviral drugs impact on menopause. Women who were infected in their late thirties and forties, 15 years ago are now reaching menopause, and there’s still insufficient questions that have been asked in terms of how menopause impacts on drug absorption, and how drug absorption impacts on menopause.’

Singh said there were ethical and regulatory barriers preventing the enrolment of young girls into studies whilst teenage girls were at high risk of contracting HIV. He said it was important to understand whether drug absorption levels changed at menopause, puberty and during monthly menstruation. ‘How does the onset of puberty impact on the absorption of drugs, and on the impact of the drug on the system?’

Singh encouraged those in the audience to consider whether their research could have different implications for men and women. ‘You can be classified male or female biologically, but your sense of self is what your gender is.’

Singh suggested the following for researchers: ‘Ask yourself whether it is due to gendered reasons that your participants dropped out of a study. Should you be designing your study to find out those finer nuances between sex and gender, and will the results be generalizable to the rest of the population you are engaging with?’


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

NEW CCMS BOOK ON 10 YEARS OF RESEARCH

NEW CCMS BOOK ON 10 YEARS OF RESEARCH

The Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) has published a book for its alumni titled Investigating Communication, Health and Development: 10 Years of Research in the Centre for Communication, Media and Society.

This book traces key research conducted over a 10-year period by graduate students of CCMS and their Entertainment Education/Communication for Participatory Development course from its inception in 2002 until 2011.

The book was edited by CCMS staff members Dr Emma Durden and Ms Eliza Govender who spent almost 18 months summarising research papers from the book.

‘The review, selection and summary process of these papers took a very long time but it is such a rewarding feeling to see it in book form. It is a collection of outstanding work from our students, and is a useful resource for scholars interested in contemporary health, communication and development research,’ said Durden.

There is a strong emphasis in this collected work on media, social justice, health education and human rights issues, especially relating to historically disadvantaged communities.

‘The innovative methodologies and indigenised theories are brought to bear through these honours, masters and PhD research projects, which reflect the Freirean derived experientialist pedagogy of CCMS, where students take responsibility for developing their own research directions within specific research programmes,’ said Govender.

She added that CCMS alumni from around the globe had reacted positively to the book, even sending family and friends to pick up copies on their behalf. Both Durden and Govender anticipate another book of this nature in the next 10 years.


author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN ACADEMICS SPEAK AT SEMINAR IN INDIA

UKZN ACADEMICS SPEAK AT SEMINAR IN INDIA

UKZN academics presented research papers on the challenges facing South Africa and Africa at an international seminar at the University of Delhi in India.

Titled: Contemporary Africa: Issues and Challenges, the seminar was presented by the University of Delhi’s Centre for African Studies in collaboration with the Policy Research Institute of African Studies Association (PRIASA).

Professor Sultan Khan presented a paper on: Land Reforms and Sustainable Rural Local Economic Development: Challenges and Prospects for the Sisonke District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal; Dr Nirmala Gopal spoke on: The Indian Diaspora – Reflections of the Role of Hinduism in shaping South African Hindu Identity; Professor Shanta Balgobind Singh delivered a presentation on: Drugs, Youth and Crime: The South African Situation, while Dr Gerelene Jagganath spoke on: Drugs and Youth in Chatsworth, Durban.

First Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, established the Department of African Studies at the University of Delhi in 1954. Since then, the Department has been actively involved in the pursuit of knowledge on issues relating to India and Africa and has always contributed to strengthening the relationship between the two regions. Chief guest of honour was Mr H E Jonathan Wutawunashe the Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

The primary objective of the seminar was to strengthen the already existing relationship between the two regions in economic, socio-cultural and political spheres.


author email : Singhsb@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN STUDENTS ORGANISE PALESTINIAN CAMPAIGN

UKZN STUDENTS ORGANISE PALESTINIAN CAMPAIGN

A group of students at UKZN held an Israeli Apartheid Awareness campaign to raise awareness about Palestine.

Speaking on behalf of the Muslim Students Association at UKZN, Ms Yumnah Cassim, said: ‘Across the globe, universities and institutions have united for a cause that we, as South Africans, should be all too familiar with - the struggle for freedom and human rights. As students living in a free and just country, we strongly believe it is our duty and obligation to spread the word of the Palestinian cause.’

At UKZN, the campaign included a series of events including flash mobs, lectures and the screening of documentaries.

A stall on the Westville campus sold Palestinian paraphernalia including T-shirts, bracelets and flags with all proceeds going towards a non-profit organisation in Palestine. The stall also included a mini art and photography exhibition.

Performances by WAAHID and Ewok, Prominent South African musicians and Palestinian activists, entertained and educated students.

‘The common misconception regarding the Palestinian cause is that this is limited only to those in the Muslim community. However, we firmly advocate that this is a human rights issue which requires the help and support of people from all walks of life,’ said Cassim.

‘In no way do we encourage factionalism or animosity between Jewish and Muslim students. We sincerely hope that as South Africans, we can all stand together in a united front to ensure the voices of the silenced Palestinians are heard.’

The week culminated in a rally led by prominent local Palestinian activists and UKZN academics. 

For more information about IAW, visit www.apartheidweek.org


author email : captainr@ukzn.ac.za

PARTNERSHIP TO IMPROVE ACCOUNTING AND MATHEMATICS PASS RATES

PARTNERSHIP TO IMPROVE ACCOUNTING AND MATHEMATICS PASS RATES

Declining pass rates in Grade 12 accounting and mathematics has led to an extension of the annual Accounting and Mathematics Revision Programme run by the College of Law and Management Studies in partnership with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA).

The programme, which usually takes place during the mid-year school holidays on the Westville campus, started on the first Saturday in March with classes continuing on Saturdays until October 19. Partner institutions on the programme felt increasing tuition hours would empower learners and address the challenge of declining pass rates.

Two hundred learners from Durban and surrounding areas have been selected to participate in this initiative aimed at preparing learners to achieve better pass rates in accounting and mathematics so that they meet university admissions criteria in the field of accounting.

Learners from disadvantaged backgrounds keen to enter the accounting profession, with the potential to succeed at university, benefit from the additional lessons. 

Mr Xolela Sohuma, Project Manager: Transformation and Growth at SAICA  said: ‘Beyond just capacitating, educating and empowering learners for academic excellence and about opportunities available, one of  SAICA’s strategic objectives is to transform and grow the profession. One may call this initiative growing your own timber, with an objective to encourage and capacitate the learners with a sound education that will assist them in meeting the academic requirements to enter into a degree programme at university level.’

Sohuma said the ultimate object of the programme was to increase the number of Black and Coloured learners choosing the chartered accountancy profession as a career.

According to Sohuma, this programme is in essence an example of educational empowerment that offers more than just academic support.  Learners receive an holistic opportunity that includes life skills, bursary opportunities and motivational talks by professionals in the accounting field and UKZN academics.

‘We are very fortunate to have the support of UKZN, the Department of Education and AMESA in offering these academic support classes and through their assistance, SAICA has selected the top educators in the province to facilitate these lessons. It must also be noted that UKZN lecturers will undertake some of the academic lessons,’ said Sohuma.

Professor Philip Stegen, Co-ordinator of Accounting Programmes in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, said the programme contributed positively towards improving grades achieved by learners.

‘SAICA and in particular the SAICA Eastern Region have been very proactive and supportive of UKZN and the local community by sponsoring and assisting with the Maths and Accounting Revision Programme. As a University we are facing huge challenges attracting students who meet the minimum entry requirements because of the standards set for admission into the BCom Accounting degree,’ said Stegen.

Mr Sbu Khanyile, the Vice-President of AMESA indicated that the current problems Grade 12 learners experienced in mathematics stemmed from them not fully grasping what they’ve learned in earlier grades.  According to Khanyile, the discipline of mathematics is a step-by-step process where learners have to re-visit learning areas taught in their formative years as they enter higher grades.

Khanyile indicated that another problem area evident was that not all participating learners understood what was being taught. Therefore, peer tutoring had been introduced where learners were divided into groups of six, with those who excel assisting weaker learners improve their performance.

One of the learners benefiting from the Programme, Miss Neliswa Mayisela of Millpark High School in Montclair who has struggled with mathematics and accounting in past years, said: ‘The tuition is good. By the end of year I will do well in the examinations.’

Mayisela said what she learns in school was more basic than the tuition she received at the Saturday classes and she would be better prepared for the National Senior Certificate Examinations in October.

Another learner, Mr Siphesihle Mkhize of Pinetown Boys’ High School who achieves an average of between 60 to 70 percent in mathematics and accounting, also praised the programme.

The aspirant BCom Accounting student enjoys the different approaches the tuition teaches him in mathematics problem-solving, saying he thought the peer tutoring programme was a good idea because the high achieving and weaker learners assisted each other identify problem areas.


author email : maharajn20@ukzn.ac.za

NEW RESEARCH LEADER AT BUSINESS SCHOOL

NEW RESEARCH LEADER AT BUSINESS SCHOOL

Research activities at the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) are now led by the recently appointed Academic Leader: Higher Degrees and Research, Dr Elias Munapo.

Munapo specialises in operations research aimed at exploring scientific and mathematics models which help businesses seek optimal profits and minimal losses. His focus areas are network models, integer programming and non-linear programming.

In his current role, Munapo is tasked with the responsibilities of teaching MBA students in the area of operations research; supervising PhD students in the GSB&L and co-ordinating research processes at the School.

Formerly from Zimbabwe, Munapo joined UKZN’s College of Law and Management Studies after four years spent as a Senior Lecturer in operations research at the University of South Africa (Unisa).

Munapo accepted the research post at UKZN because it offered him direct contact with students - an opportunity he missed while working at a distance learning institution.

He finds his new position enjoyable and challenging in the knowledge that he is motivating students and staff to engage in research and have the opportunity to teach postgraduate students.

‘Interaction with students has improved my teaching methods, something that was not possible in Unisa’s distance education environment. Students will question you immediately if they do not understand something or they feel something’s wrong. This allows me to identify student problems and immediately correct my teaching method to resolve the situation,’ said Munapo.

In a bid to inculcate further interest in research and boost research output in the GSB&L, Munapo has a plan in place for the year ahead. This includes forming teams of academics with common research interests to maximise research publication outputs; more outings focusing on preparing researchers for research writing and introducing a seminar series where seasoned academic researchers share their insights on research with the School community.

Further to this, Munapo believes guest lectures by international academics from the United States; a research conference comprising national and international presenters in the area of business and the recruitment of three research assistants would add impetus to research in the GSB&L.

Munapo’s PhD in Operations Research was obtained at the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe in 2010. His dissertation on Studies in Integer Programming: New Directions and Solution Methods sought to acquire a solution technique to existing integer problems.

He holds a Masters in Operation Research, an Honours degree in Applied Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science degree, all of which were obtained at the National University of Science and Technology.

His research has appeared in peer reviewed journals including the South African Journal of Economics and Management SciencesAsia and Pacific Journal of Operations Research, and the South African Journal of Industrial Engineering.


author email : maharajn20@ukzn.ac.za

AUDIENCE SPELLBOUND BY SCIENTIFIC SLEUTHING LECTURE

AUDIENCE SPELLBOUND BY SCIENTIFIC SLEUTHING LECTURE

Supermassive black holes were the focus in the second of a series of UKZN public lectures on astronomy and cosmology being hosted by the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Unit (ACRU).

The lecture was presented by South African-born Professor Anthony Readhead of the California Institute of Technology (CALTECH) in the United States.

Readhead has worked at Caltech since 1977 and is currently the Rawn Professor of Astronomy, Director of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory and a Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

His interest in astronomy was sparked at an early age by the impressive Highveld night skies and he became an avid amateur astronomer, serving as a night assistant at the Ratcliffe observatory near Pretoria.

Readhead’s major scientific interests are active galaxies and the supermassive black holes that power them as well as cosmology, which is the study of the evolution of the universe.

He is a fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

In his public lecture titled Supermassive Black Holes:  A Fascinating Tale of Scientific Sleuthing, Readhead led a packed auditorium of interested academics, students, schoolchildren and members of the public through a condensed history of the major cosmological breakthroughs in the 20th century relating to black holes and the amazing phenomena they generate.

‘Near the core of our Milky Way galaxy, stars crowd together and the gas gets denser,’ said Readhead.  ‘At the core lies a supermassive black hole, with a mass larger than that of a million suns.  Gravity squeezes gas ever more densely to form a black hole from which nothing can escape, not even light.  Stars and gas near the centre of the galaxy risk being drawn into the black hole.’

Readhead said that in 1918 a strange jet-like feature was observed protruding from the nucleus of a distant giant galaxy in the constellation of Virgo. This was a complete mystery until 1963, when the first quasar was discovered and it too had a jet protruding from the nucleus.

Readhead explained that quasars were active galaxies with nuclei the size of the solar system that outshine 100 billion suns. The central engines in quasars are now known to be supermassive black holes, which eject matter in narrow jets along their spin axes at close to the speed of light.

‘Observations covering the whole electromagnetic spectrum from radio to gamma-ray energies, combined with computer simulations, reveal how the black holes accomplish this remarkable feat,’ said Readhead. ‘Now we have a very good idea of what is going on in the centres of galaxies, especially our own galaxy.’

Readhead said the final puzzle was to understand the motion of the stars around the black hole galactic centre.  ‘Theorists have devised competing scenarios.  Now we want to compare these scenarios with real objects.  We are at the most fascinating stage now where the observations can actually test things and put the final piece into the puzzle.’

Readhead played an instrumental role in South Africa’s successful bid for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope.  He said he was impressed with the strategic focus on cosmology and astrophysics and UKZN.  In particular, he liked ACRU’s outreach efforts and was hoping to implement similar initiatives at CALTECH. 

Dean and Head of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science at UKZN, Professor Kesh Govinder, confirmed that the two institutions would be initiating a number of joint projects.


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

PROFESSOR KRIBEN PILLAY MEMBER OF EXCLUSIVE ENTERTAINERS’ SOCIETY

PROFESSOR KRIBEN PILLAY MEMBER OF EXCLUSIVE ENTERTAINERS’ SOCIETY

Professor Kriben Pillay, Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies, has become the first South African to be given full membership of Psycrets: The British Society of Mystery Entertainers.

Founded by the noted mystery entertainer, Professor Todd Landman, who is Professor of Government and Director of the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution at the University of Essex, Psycrets’ membership is drawn from a wide range of professional and semi-professional mystery entertainers.

In a recent letter to Pillay, Landman said:

‘The Committee of Psycrets was particularly impressed with your application for membership. While our membership includes full-time working professionals, we also have a wide range of performers who combine the art of Mentalism with other areas of professional practice. The Committee was impressed with the ways in which you use Mentalism to explore and illustrate your work on consciousness.

‘Your work has enjoyed added value after being accepted into the archives of the Magic Circle. We see as cutting edge the kind of the work in which you are engaged, and we encourage you to share your insights with the organisation.

‘You may also like to submit an article for consideration in the new Journal of Performance Magic at the University of Huddersfield. We are pleased to have you amongst us.’


author email : pillaykri@ukn.ac.za

URBAN GENETS UNDER INVESTIGATION

URBAN GENETS UNDER INVESTIGATION

UKZN MSc student Craig Widdows says many city dwellers are under the mistaken impression that wildlife can only be seen in the heart of the African bushveld.

‘There is a variety of animal species living in urban environments, especially in areas where there is a mosaic of well-developed gardens with patches of remaining indigenous habitat. As a result, urban areas are becoming increasingly important for the conservation of these animals,’ said Widdows

In the Kloof and Hillcrest areas these species include porcupine, bushpig, bushbuck and various mongoose, among others.

Widdows says a nocturnal mammal persisting in urban areas is the large spotted genet (Genetta tigrina), small carnivores found throughout South Africa.  Their bodies are elongated, with spots and other dark markings that vary from black to a rusty colour.

There are many recorded cases in KwaZulu-Natal of large spotted genets using anthropogenic structures such as outbuildings and roofs of houses as resting places.

In his MSC research on urban genets, conducted under the supervision of UKZN’s Professor Colleen Downs, Widdows is investigating how the animals are persisting in an urban environment, what they eat, how they use the urban habitat, and how their activity and feeding varies seasonally?

The aim of Widdows’ study is to investigate the home range and habitat use of Large Spotted Genets in urban Kloof and Hillcrest regions.

‘I aim to achieve this by attaching specially designed radio collars on 10 individuals. These will allow us to track the movements of the genets and to observe how they are using the urban environment.’

Widdows has also been focusing on the dietary composition of these animals to observe how it varies in an urban environment, particularly seasonally. ‘I have been collecting genet droppings once a month for the past year with interesting results,’ said Widdows. ‘The urban genets are feeding on anything they can get hold of - from cockroaches, beetles, and flying ants to avian species and even dog food.’

Sadly, an alarming amount of anthropogenic waste was being recovered from the droppings, such as plastic, cardboard, cigarettes, plasters and even string. This posed a major threat to these animals.

Widdows said that movement into urban areas had led to some of the animals being killed in collisions with vehicles and in attacks by dogs.  Some had also died from poisoning.

Last year, a 2,2kg large spotted genet was successfully trapped with the assistance of Veterinarian, Dr Mike Toft.  The animal - named Lightning after the distinctive lightning pattern on its neck - was sedated and then weighed, measured and checked for general health condition before being fitted with a collar.

It turned out Lightning was pregnant.  On further inspection, Toft found a pellet from an air rifle lodged in her right shoulder.

Widows said there had been increased interest in the study of urban ecology over the last decade as urbanisation continued to transform the landscape. His MSc project aimed to uncover as much as possible about urban genet populations in Kloof and Hillcrest.

‘Understanding more about the urban biology of large spotted genets is likely to aid the management and conservation of this nocturnal species,’ said Widdows.

* Anyone who has a genet living on their property is asked to contact Widdows at craigw@hotmail.co.za


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN VANET RESEARCH

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN VANET RESEARCH

New routing protocols likely to improve the operations of Vehicular Ad-hoc Networks (VANETs) have been discovered by a Lecturer in the Discipline of Information Systems and Technology in the College of Law and Management Studies, Mr Prabhakar Rontala Subramaniam.

Rontala Subramaniam’s findings are the result of doctoral research on the Study, Design and Analysis of QoS Adaptive Routing Schemes over Vehicular Ad hoc Networks he started three years ago.

A VANET is a wireless communication system that enables the exchange of information from one vehicle to another without the need to set up a central communication infrastructure.

Rontala Subramaniam says a variety of transport problems including traffic congestion and collisions could be averted with the use of this technology in the construction of motor vehicles as it would enable motorists to receive early warning signals of vehicles within their range and the speed they were travelling. 

Rontala Subramaniam’s discovery ensures that increased data traffic would not hinder the VANETs message routing systems.

During the past three years he has developed and perfected routing schemes which proved efficient in controlling data traffic load, managing delay and providing throughput.

REDEM Receiver based Distributed QoS (Quality of service) Enabled Media Streaming, QARS (QoS Adaptive Routing Scheme) and SADVA (Adaptive fuzzy based QoS oriented approach) are the three schemes he suggests.

‘All three protocols adopt a self-organising framework based on message aggregation as well as maintaining the domain-based clustering to minimise the volume of signalling overhead. said Rontala Subramaniam.

While governments and motor manufacturers have discussed introducing VANETs nothing has yet materialised.

This research resulted in Rontala Subramaniam obtaining his PhD in Computer Science at the Bharathiar University in Tamil Nadu, India earlier this year. He said the research process proved challenging and exposed him to networking.

He has published three research papers based on VANETs in the International Journal of Research and Review in Information Technology and the World Applied Sciences Journal.

Rontala Subramaniam, who has 19 years of teaching experience at Higher Education Institutions, has spent the last four years lecturing at UKZN’s School of Management, Information Systems and Technology and Governance.


author email : maharajn20@ukzn.ac.za

ENGINEERING STUDENTS BENEFIT FROM UNILEVER VISIT

ENGINEERING STUDENTS BENEFIT FROM UNILEVER VISIT

Click here to watch video

School of Engineering students recently had an opportunity to interact with staff and Engineers from Unilever during an Open Day on the Howard College campus.

Students were given information on the different manufacturing plants at Unilever, bursary and vacation initiatives and employment opportunities. They also received a variety of Unilever products.

Dr Prathieka Naidoo, Discipline Leader of Chemical Engineering, said the Unilever Engineering Open Day was very popular with students.

Ms Presheen Gungaparsad, Process and Innovation Engineering Manager at Unilever Personal Care, said: ‘It’s been a wonderful experience and an opportunity to engage with engineering students at the doorstep of our operations.’

‘Our aim is to foster a closer relationship with the University’s School of Engineering and contribute meaningfully to the development and education of the next generation of professionals.  This is one of many initiatives that Unilever’s South African Supply Chain Academy has planned for UKZN for 2013.’

Final year Civil Engineering student Ms Siphindile Shoba said: ‘The Unilever Open Day created a great amount of hype among engineering students and students from other Colleges. The representatives from Unilever provided us with valuable information pertaining to vacation work, bursaries and recruitment and we hope that they will continue to visit our University.’

Postgraduate Mechanical Engineering student Mr Yatshamba Daniel Kubelwa said: ‘We are fortunate that a multi-national company like Unilever took time to visit students in Engineering. As a postgraduate student, I hope to see more research opportunities from Unilever at our University.’


author email : rajpall@ukzn.ac.za

TEXANS VISIT UKZN

TEXANS VISIT UKZN

A group of academics from the United States visited the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) on the Pietermaritzburg campus to initiate an exchange and co-operation programme between the Texas A & M University and UKZN.

The delegation was led by Dr Victoria Salin, the Texas University’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Agribusiness, Food, and Consumer Economics Research Centre (AFCERC) and an Associate Professor within the Department of Agricultural Economics. Salin was accompanied by Dr Richard Dunn, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics.

Texas A & M University - home to more than 50 000 students - is ranked as the sixth-largest university in the United States with more than 360 000 former students worldwide.

The visit by the Texan academics was the result of the efforts of a Lecturer in UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ms Grany Senyolo. While completing her MS in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University in 2011, Senyolo proposed the idea of closer co-operation and exchange between universities in developing and developed regions.

Supported by Professor Fred Boadu of the Texas A&M University, the idea was developed and confirmed on a return trip in July 2011.

Senyolo and two other young Agricultural Economists were awarded fellowships in November last year by the National Agricultural Marketing Council of South Africa (NAMC) and AEASA to visit universities and other institutions. At the end of the programme, Senyolo went to Texas A&M University to meet Salin and Dunn.

During their visit to UKZN, Salin and Dunn presented a guest lecture hosted by the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, and also went on a tour of the facilities on the Pietermaritzburg campus and visited the South African Sugar Association’s research station at Mount Edgecombe.

The Dean and Head of School, Professor Albert Modi commented: ‘I am extremely supportive of this initiative to nurture collaboration between the Texas A&M University and UKZN as it will enhance the UKZN brand and increase the exposure of students to research programmes in other countries.’


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

OSOLWAZI BASE-NDIYA BETHULA IMISEBENZI YABO E-K-RITH

OSOLWAZI BASE-NDIYA BETHULA IMISEBENZI YABO E-K-RITH

Izazimfundo ezimbili zase Ndiya kamuva nje zethule imiphumela yocwaningo oluqhubekayo ngokuqamba ingxube kanye nokuhlola izidakamizwa zesifo sofuba (i-TB) kanye nemishanguzo yesandulela ngculazi (i-HIV) kwiqeqebana lososayensi abebeyingxenye lwezifundo eziqhubekayo zocwaningo e-K-RITH.

Izazimfundo ezingo Solwazi Dorai Sriram kanye noSolwazi Perumal ongu Solwazi ngobulungu eBirla Institute of Technology and Science, okungesinye sezikhungo esihamba phambili kuma Nyuvesi afundisa ngamakhono kwelase Ndiya.

Ukuvakasha kwabo e-UKZN bekuyingxenye yobudlelwano obukhona phakathi kwelase-Ndiya-Brazili-Ningizimu Afrika obenziwe ngempumelelo ngoxhaso lwe-National Research Foundation ngo-2011, ukuxhasa lobu budlelwano obuphakathi kwabacwaningi base Brazili kanye ne-UKZN phecelezi – Catalysis and Peptide Research (http://cpru.ukzn.ac.za/) kumsebenzi wokuqamba izidakamizwa zesandulela ngculazi.

USriram kanye noYogeeswari bathe isandulela ngculazi akusiso isifo esisha futhi nabacwaningi sebenze inqubekela phambili ekunqandeni izinga eliphezulu lokufa kweziguli ezisulelekile ngokuthi balaphe ngemishanguzo umhlaba-jikelele. Nakuba, emazweni athuthukayo esiwabiza phecelezi- Third world countries, ahaqwe isifo sofuba kanye nesandulela ngculazi kanye nezinye izifo ezingosomathuba ezigulini, kube khona isidingo esiphuthumayo sokuthuthukisa ngendlela ekhonekayo imithi ye-TB.

Bathi, isibalo sabantu abahaqwe isandulela ngculazi abaya kwagoqa nyawo ngaso isifo sofuba sibathusile, emazweni lapho indlala ibhoke khona kanye nokubhebhetheka kwesandulela ngculazi, bekunzima kakhulu ukukwazi ukuqhubezela phambili imishanguzo kanye naleyo enamandla yesifo sofuba.

Oka-Sriram uthe, ucwaningo lwakhe beluphathelene nesifo sofuba esisasalele – isimo lapho umuntu esuleleke ngofuba esithi phecelezi, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, kodwa igciwane le-TB lingakabonakali okwamanje. Uthe ukuqonda ukucozululwa kwamakhemikhali kanye nokubaluleka kwezidakamizwa kwiziguli ezisulelekile kumele kuqashelwe ngeso lokhozi, ngaphezu kwalokho, ukubaluleka kokuthathwa kwemishanguzo ye-TB uma ithathwa kanye nama-antiretroviral, noma vice-vesa.

Isethulo sika-Sriram besigxile kumasu okuthuthukisa lokhu esithi phecelezi i-novel anti-tubercular compounds kanti esika Yogeeswari simayelana nesakhiwo semishanguzo, indlela esingabonakala ngayo kwizinhlayiyana ezahlukene zalokhu okubizwa phelecezi- HIV enzymes

Click here for English version



author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

FAMELAB FORTUNES FOR TWO UKZN STUDENTS

FAMELAB FORTUNES FOR TWO UKZN STUDENTS

Dubbed Pop Idols for Scientists, FameLab is an international competition aimed at encouraging young scientists to share their knowledge with the general public and also help young scientists grow and hone their speaking skills for a non-scientist and non-specialist field.

UKZN’s Ms Charmaine Drury and Ms Charlotte Hillebrand have been named as semifinalists in the FameLab competition. Drury is an honours student in Biology/Ecology on the Westville campus, while Hillebrand is an honours Physics student in Pietermaritzburg.

Drury first heard about FameLab on the UKZN Notice System.  ‘All I had to do was click a link, read about it and enter online to participate in the open round. I entered because I saw it as an opportunity to grow and develop as a scientist and a person.’

Her topic for the regional finals was: Islandisation and habitat fragmentation. ‘I chose this topic as it falls within my specific field of interest and study; and is an easy concept to understand and explain.

‘I prepared for Grahamstown by starting early - getting my speech done in advance and asking some of the lecturers on campus to help hone my specific skills. My third topic for the national competition in Grahamstown was “the red queen hypothesis”. I chose this due to its misunderstood nature and because it is a topic I love and believe people should be aware of.’

Drury chose the field of biology and ecology as she enjoys looking at the broader picture of things and the study of how they work together as a system.

While science was often perceived as a male-dominated career, this had no impact on this determined young scientist in the making. ‘As far as I’m concerned gender, race, sexuality, etc of scientists are of no importance. What is important is passion and determination. Intelligence is nothing without diligence and success in science is finding a balance between the two.’

Hillebrand’s presentation on the semifinals was titled: Artificial Intelligence and Apple Pie.  More specifically, it’s about neural networks and some of their applications in and out of the natural sciences.

Hillebrand’s plans for the future include looking for answers. ‘I have lots of questions about the universe to which I’d like to find answers, so I plan to continue studying physics and eventually go into research. Since the answers are far too fascinating to keep to myself, I'm currently exploring ways to keep involved with communicating science to the general public.’

‘FameLab has been lots and lots of fun in a very supportive environment and by all accounts next year is going to be even better. I’d encourage any scientist or science student (aged between 21 and 35) to enter the competition,’ said Hillebrand.

‘I’d also encourage any non-scientist to visit the regional or national finals of the competition to take a peek behind the curtain at how the world works – it’s fascinating!’

The semifinals took place at the Grahamstown Scifest on 15 March, and the winner will go through to the international finals in the United Kingdom.

Organised by the British Council, the competition seeks to communicate science to the lay person in a three-minute talk without slides and minimal props.

The idea for the science-based competition germinated at the Cheltenham Science Festival in England in 2005 and has since spread to more than 25 countries around the world.


author email : captainr@ukzn.ac.za

MBA STUDENT APPOINTED TO THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

MBA STUDENT APPOINTED TO THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

A Masters in Business Administration (MBA) student in the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L), Ms Suraya Dawad, has clinched a senior managerial position with the National Planning Commission (NPC) in the Office of the President.

Formerly from Overport in Durban, Dawad took on the responsibilities of Research Manager in the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development in South Africa (PSPPD) this month.

The National Planning Commission headed by Minister in the Presidency, Mr Trevor Manuel, is mandated to create a plan of action to achieve South Africa’s development objectives.

In response to her appointment, Dawad said: ‘We all have aspirations and goals in life. My interest lies in development issues in the South African context. I have contributed towards development through my previous positions, however on a smaller scale. This position in the NPC will afford me the opportunity to contribute, to a larger extent, towards South Africa’s development.  The National Development Plan (NDP) is a document produced with a great deal of thought and I’m excited to be a part of its implementation.’

Dawad holds a Bachelor of Psychology degree (including Honours in Psychology) and a Masters in Population Studies, from the former University of Natal. She is a final year MBA student at UKZN who has set her sights on graduating cum laude, and is close to achieving her goal after passing 15 courses with distinctions thus far.

For her master’s research dissertation, Dawad intends exploring an employee assistance programme, focusing on its utilisation by employees, as well as reasons for non-utilisation. 

Taking on the MBA challenge stems from her need to “marry” her research experience with management.  Dawad says the postgraduate programme has assisted her put the theory she has learnt into practice. She said studying the MBA courses had helped her manage projects more effectively and efficiently. 

‘The MBA has been a challenge but a great learning curve. It’s now a little more challenging being away from Durban but I am taking it in my stride. I have written a thesis previously and I can do it again with proper time management and determination,’ said Dawad.

Dawad, who served as project leader and senior scientist at the HIV Prevention Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council prior to her current appointment, has published her research in several peer-reviewed journals including: Rural and Remote HealthAfrican Journal of AIDS Research, and Health Research Policies and Systems.

As Research Manager at the NPC, Dawad’s role entails managing the research process of programmes aimed at supporting pro-poor development. Two critical areas of her job are managing grant making processes and managing relations with stakeholders.

Two weeks into her appointment, Dawad is often asked if she has met the President – not yet she says but in time she hopes this will happen. She looks forward to working in an office headed by Manuel.

Professor Anesh Singh, an academic in the GSB&L who is Dawad’s Supervisor and Lecturer, described her as a very “focused” student who has set high academic and professional goals for herself.

‘When she joined my research methodology class last year she made it very clear from the outset that she wanted to do extremely well in my course, which she did.  It was a proud moment for me when she informed me that she would be joining the President’s office.’


author email : maharajn20@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN STUDENT LANDS DURBAN MUNICIPALITY INTERNSHIP

UKZN STUDENT LANDS DURBAN MUNICIPALITY INTERNSHIP

A Community Development student currently registered for Master of Development Studies within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (SBEDS), Mr Sibusiso Nxumalo, has secured an internship at eThekwini Municipality’s Economic Development and Investment Promotions Unit.

This internship programme was co-ordinated by Community Development Lecturer, Ms Phindile Shangase.

‘The internship has taught me a lot about how local government functions and performs their duties as mandated by the statute and national government. It has assisted me to understand and explore potential issues that may be hindering development and find possible solutions and recommendations,’ said Nxumalo.

He is currently responsible for communicating with various stakeholders, drafting reports and presentations, project implementation management, facilitation and administration and supporting different Initiatives of the Economic Development and Investment Promotions Unit to achieve the prescribed mandate within the city.

‘I’m applying my background knowledge and theories effectively in the workplace, identifying the gaps between policies and implementation, liaising with relevant stakeholders and drafting implementation plans to carry out the mandate of service delivery, thus promoting people-centered development.’

Nxumalo’s goals are to become a project manager or occupy a managerial position in one of the provincial government departments.


author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

PROMOTING MIDWIFERY RESEARCH FOR IMPROVING WOMEN AND CHILD HEALTH

PROMOTING MIDWIFERY RESEARCH FOR IMPROVING WOMEN AND CHILD HEALTH

UKZN’s Discipline of Nursing recently held a workshop conducted by Professor Dame Tina Lavender, an internationally acclaimed midwife and researcher from the University of Manchester who last year was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to midwifery.

Lavender and her colleague, Dr Carol Bedwell, addressed a group of more than 80 midwives, students of UKZN’s Midwifery and Advanced Midwifery programmes, the programme’s educators and perinatal educators at UKZN.

She said in order to promote and support safe pregnancies and births effectively, the profession needed a strong underpinning of “evidence-based practice” internationally and this would be achieved if midwives started to address the lack of non-pharmacological research in midwifery.

Lavender explained that pharmacological research involved drugs with side effects which could affect a baby’s respiratory system among other life-threatening concerns. However, she said an increase in non-pharmacological research would make care for mothers and babies more cost effective, promote levels of confidence and competence amongst midwives, and enable them to give women better care and choices which are based on the evidence.

Lavender elaborated on a study they conducted abroad which focused on evidence-based skin care.  In which it was found that there was very little evidence regarding what is “best” to use for baby skin care. While some mothers and healthcare professionals felt water was the purest agent for bathing babies, others perceived soap to do a better job, with some holding opposing views about the use of baby wipes.

Lavender said research should not be separate from midwifery, ‘…it is what we consider to be the best form of evidence.  If we base our practice on research we will be giving our women the best care.’

She said their instincts and intuition as midwives were simply not enough unless informed by research. ‘It is important that our research outcomes are meaningful.’

Lavender discussed pain management during labour, saying midwives, clinicians and policy makers should capitalise on resources such as the Cochrane Review which presented a systematic approach to conducting useful research.

Together with Bedwell, Lavender discussed the use of machines such as the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as an alternative to painkilling medication in early labour for pregnant women. They said that although the efficacy of TENS machines had been inconclusive thus far, the need to base midwifery practice on evidence persisted, and this applied in low resource settings as well.

Bedwell said reflective journaling was an important part of evidence-based midwifery and making midwives confident about their practice.

She benchmarked the use of the Gibbs Reflective Model which presented a six-stage cycle in which the midwife wrote a description of the event, recalling and exploring the feelings experienced during the event; tried to evaluate or make a judgement about what had happened, followed by an analysis, conclusion and a plan of action focusing on the midwife’s reactions should they encounter the event again.

Professor Busi Ncama, Dean and Head of the School of Nursing and Public Health, said the midwives and students were honoured to have been addressed by the esteemed international guests.  She said the discipline of Nursing is a designated World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Community Problem Solving in Nursing and Midwifery and a Joanna Briggs Institute Collaborating Centre for Evidence Based Nursing and Midwifery Practice. ‘We are really at the forefront of improving nursing and midwifery and realising the Millennium Development Goals: four, five and six.’

The Discipline of Nursing is recognised for its innovative educational programmes, its research activities, its extensive work in Africa, and its international network of scholars.

author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN STAFF MEMBER COMPLETES ARGUS CYCLE RACE IN STYLE

UKZN STAFF MEMBER COMPLETES ARGUS CYCLE RACE IN STYLE

Cycling enthusiast and UKZN School’s Liaison Officer Mr Mxolisi Ncube rode in the recent 2013 Argus cycle race in Cape Town in aid of HI HOPES. 

The objective of HI HOPES is to give deaf and hard of hearing babies and children every opportunity to develop normally and enjoy the same opportunities as their hearing peers, said Wits University academic, Dr Claudine Storbeck, Co-ordinator of the organisation based at the Centre for Deaf Studies.

A regular on the cycling scene, Ncube rode the Argus in aid of HI HOPES with the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, at her invitation. The Premier is especially passionate about this issue of hearing having a sibling who is deaf.

Celebrating her birthday and riding the Argus for HI HOPES was ‘my best birthday yet,’ said Zille. (Search for Zille’s tweets on Twitter with hash tag #premierspeloton)  

‘When the Premier fired the starting gun off we went with the vision and purpose of HI HOPES on our minds and in our hearts,’ said Ncube. 

‘The excitement took a nose dive almost immediately when we rode into a beautiful south-wester that blew us back to Cape Town!  Although we appreciated its cooling effect, we struggled in its face right until Simonstown. 

‘We persevered and soldiered on for the good of the children. Chapman’s Peak Drive lived up to its full potential as a challenge to many riders who decided to walk to the top.’ 

According to Ncube, the worst enemy of any rider is Suikerbosse. ‘About 20 km from the finish, this climb presents each rider with a challenge that requires every last ounce of energy a competitor has left. This separates the men from the boys!’

‘The best part of the race after the starting line was crossing the finish line flying the HI HOPES flag.’

Zille and Storbeck thanked the team (premierspeloton) for participating in the race for the organisation and all its stands for.

‘It was truly an honor to ride for such a great cause alongside the Premier. A special thanks goes to greenOffice and my colleagues at Corporate Relations for all their contributions,’ said Ncube.


author email : captainr@ukzn.ac.za

AUDIOLOGY STUDENTS RAISE AWARENESS ON EAR AND HEARING CARE

AUDIOLOGY STUDENTS RAISE AWARENESS ON EAR AND HEARING CARE

There was an impressive turnout of academic and support staff at the Discipline of Audiology clinic on the Westville campus where final-year students in the Discipline offered hearing screening in order to raise awareness about ear and hearing care as well as audiology as a profession.

The focus of International Ear and Hearing Care Day was on hearing loss and the elderly.

The students carried out a series of activities to raise awareness within Durban-based communities. One such activity was a recent visit to senior citizens at Graceland Nursing Home where the students devoted an afternoon attending to the hearing needs of the elderly folk.

Students also targeted staff members at UKZN who benefited from the screening with hearing complications being referred for a follow-up session for a full hearing test to be conducted.

Ms Jessica Paken, Acting Academic Leader and Lecturer in the Discipline, said it was important for everyone to know their hearing status. ‘As people age, their ability to hear gradually reduces. Often the first people to notice are communication partners and not the individual themselves. They may even think you’re ignoring them. This, inevitably, affects your communication at work and at home.

‘If you are exposed to a noisy environment and medication, it is important to get screened for hearing.’

Paken said the fourth year of Audiology consolidates all the theory that final-year students have learnt over the years.

An audiologist has expert knowledge in diagnosing and managing diseases of the ear and interprets the results of test findings. Audiology is closely related to speech language pathology, medical science, and, among others, psychology.

Ms Jessica Lee-Shaw and Ms Nolwazi Ngcobo, final-year students in the programme, said the class of 2013 had enjoyed working in the KwaDabeka and Mariannridge communities. Their passion for helping people was fulfilled when they saw the facial expressions of their patients who could suddenly hear sounds that they couldn’t before.

The Audiology Clinic offers services to the public at a minimal fee; catering for those without medical aid. Its weekly schedule is as follows:

Monday:  Electrophysiology Clinic and a Hearing Aid Clinic

Tuesday: Basic Hearing Test Clinic and an Industrial Audiology Clinic

Wednesday: Aural rehabilitation aimed at improving communication for hearing impaired people by teaching compensatory communication skills

Thursday: Paediatric Clinic (six months to six years old)

Friday: General and Advanced clinic (providing hearing tests, hearing aid evaluations, auditory process tests).

All clinics run from 08h00 to noon, except aural rehabilitation on Wednesday, which is in the afternoon. 

For more information contact the Clinical Administrator, Ms Roshnie Naidoo, at (031) 260 8986.


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

SADC HIV RESOURCE TRACKING AND HEALTH ECONOMIST DIRECTORIES

SADC HIV RESOURCE TRACKING AND HEALTH ECONOMIST DIRECTORIES

The HIV Resource Tracking and the Health Economist directories, both compiled by UKZN’s Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD) last year, aim to assist in developing collaboration in the critical field of health economics in the SADC region.  HEARD has asked those in the research and the general community to submit contacts able to add to and share these directories.  

The HIV Resource Tracking Directory was created in response to the apparent duplication between resource-tracking projects in the region making it a valuable tool in identifying gaps, synergies and duplication between projects within individual countries and across SADC. The directory can be filtered by country, methodology used and stage of research using the filter function in Microsoft Excel.

Data collection was done through telephonic interviews with researchers, policy-makers, those in agency country offices such as UNAIDS and PEPFAR as well as through input from a meeting with several researchers and consultants. (Click here for meeting report).

Data collection for the Health Economist Directory was done through a literature review and a review of conference proceedings for several key meetings in the region which identified a preliminary list of individuals involved in health economics and/or HIV and AIDS research in SADC. Email questionnaires were sent to these individuals and followed-up by telephone calls. Snowballing of contacts was used to gather more data to populate the directory.  (Click here to download the directory). 

Direct all queries, comments or suggestions to Nicola Dehaye.


author email : Deghaye@ukzn.ac.za