Progress made by UKZN’s Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Programme has impressed KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, as well as a visiting United States government delegation and partnering African countries.

The programme is three years into the five-year grant awarded to UKZN through funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Eleven universities were awarded the grant in sub-Saharan Africa with UKZN being one of only two South Africa universities which benefited.

During a three-day site visit to UKZN and its decentralised centres of excellence, the visiting delegation acknowledged the MEPI team’s collaborative efforts which have resulted in the vision of enhanced training, research and education of African universities being realised.

Professor Umesh Lalloo, the grant’s communicating Principle Investigator (PI), said UKZN was very passionate about MEPI and his dedicated colleagues appreciated the support they received from the international funders and the provincial Department of Health (DoH). The work they had done was in line with the PEPFAR goals of health systems strengthening and sustainability through increasing the quality and quantity of medical school graduates, improving retention of health care workers in areas where they are most needed and increasing capacity for locally driven research.

UKZN’s programme, known as the Enhancing Training, Research and Education (ENTRÉE) Programme, is unique in that it focuses not only the School of Clinical Medicine and MBChB students, but encompasses the Disciplines of Pharmacy and Nursing also based in the College of Health Sciences (CHS).

Some of the recent highlights in the ENTRÉE programme are the Pharmacy Discipline’s establishment of an online student supervision programme and the use of online modules and tutorials including new pedagogies for team-based learning, all of which are driven by Professor Fatima Suleman.

The Nursing Discipline was recognised for implementing a basic epidemiology course as well as the Nurse Initiated Management of Antiretroviral Therapy (NIMART) training into the undergraduate nursing curriculum. In addition to developing a rural curriculum for nurses at decentralised training sites, the Discipline developed HIV specific case studies together with faculty from Columbia University. These MEPI activities were headed by Dr Joanne Naidoo.

Headed by Professor Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni, the Discipline of Public Health Medicine used MEPI funding to strengthen and improve their current modules and programmes.  They were able to include a community activity component called “Making a Difference” which is now a Becoming a Professional (BAP) first-year undergraduate programme.  The Discipline was also able to incorporate a research health promotion project for fourth-year medical students. 

The Discipline of Family Medicine, headed by Dr Reuben Naidoo, is responsible for developing the MEPI Learning Centres which are decentralised teaching sites where students receive positive rural exposure with adequate supervision by a Family Medicine physician and Department of Health staff.  The Discipline will continue offering Emergency Medicine updates as an outreach programme to Department of Health doctors and nurses, and taking on the responsibility for curriculum development for the fourth, fifth and sixth-year MBChB Programme.

Lalloo said the final-year students of 2015 would undertake an extended six to seven-week rural attachment block in order to enhance their skills and competence working in rural communities. The curriculum for this was being developed together with the Discipline of Rural Health Medicine.

Lalloo heads MEPI’s Research Methodology Programme which is aligned to UKZN’s succession planning strategy. The programme supports UKZN staff embarking on their PhDs by providing them with a bursary as well as support for epidemiology and biostatistics, scientific writing and data capturing.

Together with Dr Sandy Pillay, Lalloo also heads a dual qualification programme, the Enhancing Care Initiative, which is responsible for programme development, training of nurses in NIMART, and curriculum infusion in the third, fourth and sixth years.  The programme provides training to Family Medicine registrars on an annual basis.

While Professor Jack Moodley and Dr Neil Moran from the DoH successfully head a programme known as the Essential Steps in Managing Obstetric Emergencies (ESMOE) which is in line with the National DoH’s goal of reducing maternal morbidity and mortality, MEPI will assist with the monitoring and evaluation of the programme to determine its effectiveness and impact.

MEPI has a Research Ethics Capacity Building Programme which is headed by Professor Doug Wassenaar, the Bioresearch Ethics Committee (BREC) Chair.  Activities in this programme include awarding BREC Fellowships to UKZN PhD students who shadow the BREC Chair.  Additional students are also funded to attend South African Research Ethics Training Initiative (SARETI) Masters modules.  Annual NIH Grants Management and Writing Workshops are held at UKZN and the programme will launch an online ethics module specific to South African law and guidelines in the near future.

The MEPI Project was applauded for its successful collaboration with the DoH, University of Washington, Columbia University, University of Denver, and other MEPI awardee sites in Zimbabwe and Ghana.

US Consul General Taylor Ruggles said: ‘The infection rate can get very discouraging but when you look at the research there is so much to be inspired by in the province. It’s just an exciting place to be.’

MEC Dhlomo agreed: ‘For the success of any country you need to look at the work being generated by universities.’

Dhlomo said there were several programmes in place for addressing the quadruple burden of diseases in the province in addition to the MEPI Project, and that the health system of KwaZulu-Natal should lead by example as it was the most affected province in the country.

He said this would succeed in taking the country a step closer to realising the Millennium Development Goals. ‘We do see light at the end of the tunnel.’

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Nineteen Seychellois students, registered for a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at UKZN, will make history next year when they graduate as the first generation of nurses produced in their home country with degrees.

UKZN’s Nursing Discipline - a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre in the African region - offers the bachelor’s degree to students in the Seychelles who are taught using a blended approach. This includes UKZN academics lecturing in block periods in the Seychelles and also via Moodle – the online learning tool which enables further discussions between lecturers and students, submission of assignments and individualised feedback to each student. 

The project was conceived in 2008 by Professor Fikile Mtshali, Dean of Teaching and Learning for UKZN’s College of Health Sciences, and Professor Oluyinka Adejumo, former Head of UKZN’s School of Nursing and now acting Head of the School of Nursing at the University of the Western Cape. 

Both academics were invited by the African Region’s WHO to conduct a situational analysis of Nursing and Midwifery with personnel in Seychelles and they were joined by Professor Busi Bhengu from UKZN in 2011. They held meetings with the Ministry of Education, the Seychelles Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Ministry of Health to develop the Education and Training Plan for nurses and midwives in the country.

Recently returned from her lecturing block at Seychelles, Mtshali said the students really appreciated the opportunity being afforded by UKZN.

‘At present the highest qualification in nursing in their country is a three-year diploma. The country sends very few people to study and the students need to raise part of the funds to cover the study expenses. Through this project the students will be the first group of nurses produced within the country with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.  According to them, completing this qualification next year will open opportunities to pursue further studies in the areas of their choice,’ said Mtshali. 

The entire project was implemented last year and is being co-ordinated by Dr Jennifer de Beer under the guidance and direction of Professor Busi Ncama, Dean and Head of the School of Nursing and Public Health.  It follows a semester system and the students write exams at the same time as UKZN onsite students. 

Mtshali said once this group graduated the plan was to start offering Bachelor of Nursing in Seychelles as a way of upgrading the education and training of nurses.

She said practical exams take place in Seychelles and the plan towards the end of the programme was to have students coming to South Africa to spend time in local health care settings to get exposed to learning experiences outside their country. 

Other UKZN academics in the Seychelles abroad programme include Professor Busi Bhengu, Professor Petra Brysiewicz, Professor Gugu Mchunu, Dr Sisana Majeke, Dr de Beer, Dr Jonene Naidoo, Dr Jennifer Chipps, Ms Miranda Banda, Mrs Zanele Zondi and Professor Snegugu Duma.

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Two UKZN Professors were involved in writing the book Bridging Perspectives: The Cornell-SEWA-WIEGO Exposure Dialogue Programme on Labour, Informal Employment and Poverty which was launched recently.

Professor Imraan Valodia and Professor Frances Lund of UKZN’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) contributed chapters in the publication.

Asked about the inception of the book, the Professors explained that in 2003, a group of individuals began a series of dialogues to better understand the informal economy, and to bridge different analytical perspectives between mainstream economists, heterodox economists, non-economist social scientists and ground level activists.

‘An integral part of the process was spending a few days and nights living and working with families of women who earn their living in the informal economy, bringing the group closer to reality that technical and policy analysis are meant to capture,’ said Valodia.  

Five such exposures were undertaken: in Ahmedabad, India (2004 and 2008), Durban, South Africa (2007, 2011) and Oaxaca, Mexico (2009). After each exposure and dialogue, members of the group further examined their experiences through written reflections, both personal and technical.

These writings have been brought together in a volume titled: Bridging Perspectives: The Cornell-SEWA-WIEGO Exposure Dialogue Programme on Labour, Informal Employment and Poverty, which highlights the remarkable process of personal enlightenment and group discourse on informality, poverty, gender and economics.

Speakers at the book launch included Marty Chen of Harvard University and International Co-ordinator of WIEGO; Namrata Bali of the Self Employed Women’s Association in India; prominent economist Ravi Kanbur of Cornell University, and Masibisi Majola, one of a group of remarkable women who work in Durban’s informal economy.

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Collaborative research and teaching are on the cards between UKZN and the University of the West Indies’ Mona Campus in Jamaica.

Leadership from both institutions met when the Jamaican visitors spent two days at UKZN engaging various disciplines on areas of interest.

Professor Archibald McDonald, former Dean of Medicine and Deputy Principal of the University of the West Indies’ Mona Campus, said the institution intended to build capacity for PhD supervision in its medical programmes in addition to forming partnerships that would be of mutual benefit in Nursing and other health sciences disciplines.

McDonald said the institution struggled to find PhD supervisors and although they already had collaborators in the United States, they felt the need to form collaborations with universities in sub-Saharan Africa, and UKZN was their institution of choice.

He said non-communicable diseases, HIV, trauma management and drug development from natural products were some of their areas of interest in research.

UKZN’s Professor Richard Hift and Professor William Daniels said the University was ready for such collaboration. They echoed sentiments in line with the internationalisation and strategic goals of UKZN and said that the College of Heath Sciences continued to forge partnerships that ensured pre-eminence in research and excellence in teaching and learning.

Hift said some of the College’s strategic research areas included trauma and emergency, infectious diseases, neurosurgery, communicable diseases, and medical education. He mentioned that there were plans to launch a new Discipline of Clinical Cognition at UKZN.

Professor Busi Ncama, Dean and Head of the School of Nursing and Public Health, highlighted the Nursing Discipline’s “large” postgraduate component. Ncama agreed with McDonald that there was a need for each institution to build capacity for the PhD credentialing of staff. They agreed to explore the best models for supervision and co-supervision of students progressively.

The visiting delegation met with leadership from the UKZN’s Centre for Entrepreneurship as well as Professor Cristina Trois, Dean and Head of the School of Engineering, and her team who delivered a presentation on energy.

Professor Evan Duggan, Dean of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies’ Mona Campus, also engaged with leadership from the College of Humanities where possible collaboration in psychology, sociology, social work and criminology were discussed.

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IsiZulu Project Leader for the College of Law and Management Studies, Dr Dianna Moodley, recently initiated a stimulating discussion around UKZN’s bilingualism policy at a conference held by the National Council for the Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) in conjunction with the African Languages Teachers Association (ALTA) in Chicago, United States.

Moodley emphasised how user-attitudes played a pivotal role in either enhancing or inhibiting African language usage not only at UKZN but in South African Higher Education generally.

Higher Education representatives from institutions around the world shared similar sentiments on the difficulty of promoting indigenous or minority languages in an atmosphere where English remained the preferred lingua franca in education.

Moodley shared with the audience UKZN’s latest bilingualism policy implementation plan to include isiZulu as a requirement in all undergraduate degree programmes.

While she strongly supports the bilingualism policy, she believes, based on her latest study on the attitudes of the university community towards isiZulu usage, that there could be a very real danger of appearing to impose the language in an environment where people feel comfortable with English-only.

She suggests the way forward is to provide “external activators” to stimulate interest in language acquisition and usage among students and academics.

Moodley said incentivising the university community with tangible rewards, fervent marketing of the language, highlighting its benefits, and more prudent use of funding could catapult actual on-the-ground usage of African languages for teaching and learning.

‘Since most UKZN academics are unprepared or underprepared to teach in an African language, professional re-tooling in African language paedogogy, curriculum development and language proficiency is imperative,’ she said.

Moodley is currently networking with academics from the University of Georgia, Indiana University and New York’s Hamilton College in the United States to share their expertise with UKZN academics on pre-service and in-service professional workshops for instructors of African languages. These workshops are designed to empower academics with both theoretical and practical means to effectively design standards-based specific curriculum and lesson plans in African languages.    

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Babalelwa ekhulwini – 100, abantu abebebuthene bezothamela ukuhlangana okuyibuya kwalabo ababengabafundi kanye nabasebenzi kwiSikole sezoMculo e-Jazz Centre ophikweni lase Howard College.

IHhovisi elengamele ubudlelwano kanye nalabo asebahamba eNyuvesi lihlele lomcimbi walabo asebahamba kanye nalabo abakhona kanye nabafundi abasuka kude kanye naseduze kanye nalabo abaliqhamukisa phesheya kwezilwandle imbala.

UMnu Thataone Edwards we-Kilasi lango-2006, obeliqhamukisa eNyakatho ye Kapa, nobehambele lo mcimbi evunule isintu nobebonakala ebusweni ukuthi uyaphuphuma injabulo.

UNksz Jasmin Persad wekilasi lango-1979 yena uthe: ‘kuyinjabulo kakhulu ukubuya eNyuvesi ikakhulukazi kwiSikole sezoMculo – kubuyisa leya micabango. Lo mcimbi uwumqondo omuhle kakhulu ngoba usinika ithuba lokuthi siphinde sihlangane sincokole nabangani bethu ngezakudala.’

Oka-Persad njengamanje ufundisa isiNgisi kodwa ekuqaleni ufundise umculo emazingeni aphansi. ‘ngiyohlala njalo ngitusa ngincoma lokho okwakwenzeka eSikoleni sezoMculo kanye nakho konke engakufunda lapha.’

USolwazi Nogwaja Zulu oyi-Dini kanye neNhloko kuso iSikole wamkele izihambeli waphinde wahalalisela labo abadl’umhlanganiso endimeni yezomculo. Ubakhuthaze ngokuthi baqhubekele phambili benze iNyuvesi izigqaje ngabo nokuthi baphinde baxhumane nehhovisi  elingenhla, phecelezi – alma mater

Ngesikhathi somcimbi, bekukhon’ ezikaqed’isizungu  zethulwa ilabo abaneziqu kanye nabangani balesi Sikole. Okuhlab’umxhwele nokube amazwibela omcimbi kube inkulumo ebiwumlando eyethulwe uSolwazi Christopher Ballantine.

Lezi ezingasoze zabuna, zisuse uhlevana lwamahlaya kwizethameli njengoba oka-Ballantine ecobelele ngolwazi alususele ekusungulweni kweSikole ngo-1972 kanye nempumelelo yaso kuze kube imanje kanye no’buso’ obusha obukhona.

Lowo onguMqondisi noyisikhulu sezokuxhumanisa iNyuvesi, uNksz Nomonde Mbadi, uthathe ithuba lokuthi athule ngokusemthethweni i-Music Chapter

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UKZN social anthropologist Dr Maheshvari Naidu, Senior Lecturer in School of Social Sciences presented a paper titled: “The Humanistic Value of Cancer Narratives” at a nursing conference in Jordan.

The Conference was hosted by the Princess of Jordon, HRH Princess Muna, who is Head of the Jordanian Nursing Council.

Titled: “The Tipping Point - Creative Solutions to Health and Nursing Challenges”, the Conference attracted delegates from more than 20 countries. The title referred to what was envisaged as a “turning point” or “tipping point” in both praxis and theory in terms of nursing and wider health care practice.

The Conference was themed around the critically imperative issues of reinventing the context for healthcare and nursing and centering care around the person, championing creative solutions, and most vitally, promoting the command of ethics in healthcare.

The objective of the Conference was to champion projects and ideas making a difference in the lives of people and to build consensus on future direction for healthcare and nursing globally and regionally. It also aimed to broker and to promote partnerships in practice, education and research.

Naidu’s presentation was a follow up to her earlier presentation at the National Anthropology Conference held at the University of Cape Town last year. Naidu was invited to attend the Conference by a collegue in Jordon who was familiar with her work. Her paper sought to add to the discussion on the humanistic value of narratives in understanding cancer and the experiences of women with cancer.

The paper further sought to position these narratives within the larger cancer health care system.

Naidu’s position is that research which informs core functions of the (cancer) health care system and its reception by the beneficiaries, are critical and must reach across a very diverse population of care-givers including physicians, oncologists, nurses, radiologists, as well as the patients and their family members.

Naidu’s paper showed that allowing patients to share their stories about what was happening to them in the context of their illness, encouraged them to talk about themselves as “selves” rather than just describing particular parts of their bodies and what was happening to their bodies.

Narrative theory in turn privileges unvoiced and marginalised discourses and considers alternative narratives to be part of the whole narrative structure. In the context of her study, the alternate narratives were the patients’ sociological stories of “bodies as selves” (as told by the patients) and their shifting embodiments of illness and health.

These emerged as the “storied” records that offered an alternate picture of the “patient” as a person and offered an alternate “story” to the medical narratives or charted pathologies that were written into the patients’ medical records.

Naidu said social sciences accounts within a wider social framework had been acutely aware of the limitations of traditional medicine in comprehending, and therefore meaningfully assisting, the experience of the patient, and that for many patients, the experience of modern medicine, especially hospital-based and experienced medicine, ‘is a disjunctive one, involving not just pain but also dislocation, objectification and a denial of their sense of embodiment’.

The inscriptional approach and practices offered by medical treatments, largely underwritten by epidemiological and clinical studies, was thus experienced as being territorial and debilitating enough to alter relationships, even the most fundamental relationship, between one’s own body and self.

Naidu’s paper presented a reminder that we are therefore compelled to become increasingly vigilant of the dominant ideologies of illness and body, through which we are increasingly obliged to enact illness and health. Such theorising and an over deification of a largely bio-medical discourse is also complicit in the creation of particular constructions of “the patient” and of “health” and “illness” as medical knowledge.

Naidu’s appeal is that researchers working on social issues around health need to push for greater recognition of that which may seem deceptively obvious but which appears to elide the “medical gaze” of many, that in dealing with “illness”, one is actually dealing with “ill people”. There was a need to add to the urgency by proposing a more humanistic postmodern medical social science focused on the creation of models of care through qualitative phenomenological work with patients and the physicality of their illnesses which allows a privileging of the patients’ corporeal body.

“Narrative medicine” and “medical humanities” have been put forward as possible solutions to an increasingly impersonal medical environment. Thus although the Conference drew mainly nursing practitioners and physicians, research from a social science perspective  was able  to draw critical attention to the need for reorganisation of the “care relationship” as powerful sites of theory and practice.

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The significant role played by books and reading in the history of South Africa was highlighted during the 20th Alan Paton Lecture presented on the Pietermaritzburg campus by South African librarian and activist Professor Archie Dick.

The Lecture, organised by UKZN’s Alan Paton Centre (APC) and Struggle Archives, was titled: “Our Common Readers and Our Common Reading Cultures”, and examined the role of the printed word over the centuries.

The Lecture was followed by the launch of Dick’s book: The Hidden History of South Africa's Book and Reading Cultures.

‘Reading cultures are socio-cultural systems that embrace several elements such as how to decode texts, when and where reading occurs, choosing to read aloud, selecting what should be read and not read, who the members of reading communities are, and what motives drive reading. In other words, they have social and cultural dimensions and elements within larger reading systems,’ said Dick.

In his book Dick outlines the key works of fiction and non-fiction, magazines and newspapers that were read and discussed by political activists and prisoners.  He does this by looking at records from a slave lodge, women’s associations, army education units, universities, courts, libraries, prison departments, and political groups.

Exposing the book and library schemes that elites used to regulate reading, Dick reveals incidences of intellectual fraud, book theft, censorship, and book burning. Through this innovative methodology, he aptly shows how South African readers used reading and books to resist unjust regimes and build community across South Africa’s class and racial barriers.

‘In the 1930s, when Prue Smith was a teenager in South Africa, she was a reader for illiterate black servants in her parents’ household,’ said Dick. ‘Though their memories and mental discipline enabled them to carry out their duties, it was the written word as conveyed by Prue that fed their imagination and offered them leisure. She remembers reading out the letters written by a postmaster or storekeeper on behalf of the sender.

‘By the 1970s serious political books found their way into activist and prison reading circles. Trade union organiser, Neil Aggett, who died in detention in 1982, joined the young White radical Capital reading circle in Johannesburg at about the same time that Umkhonto we Sizwe cadres in exile and political prisoners on Robben Island were reading this Karl Marx classic too.

‘The Island prison librarian Sedick Isaacs told me that Mrs Katherine Haslam of the University of Cape Town Library sent him boxes of books after he requested material for the library,’ added Dick.

Dick, who has inspired students with descriptions of his personal experience as a librarian and activist in South Africa, is currently a Professor in the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria. He was a visiting Professor at Wayne State University in 1997 and at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 2007.

He serves on the editorial boards of several national and international LIS journals, and is the Reviews Editor of the historical journal, New Contree. He was the Deputy-Chairperson of the Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) Committee of IFLA from 2009 to 2011, and is currently Chairperson of the National Council of Library and Information Services (NCLlS).

Concluding his talk Dick said: ‘For more years than we can tell rich and poor, black and white, and conservative and liberal South Africans have read and enjoyed cross-over authors like Reitz, Paton, Pringle, Dickens, Shakespeare, and many others not mentioned in this talk. In spite of governments and the elite segregating our reading cultures in the past, and even when we read the same books differently, we were probably on the same page more often than we may think.

‘I wish to thank the Alan Paton committee for inviting me to present this lecture, and especially Mr Nazim Gani for making all the arrangements for my visit. This talk honours Alan Paton and I hope it advances the ideals he held dear and lived out in his long and productive life. As a world class author, he assisted many young South African writers in their careers.’

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An expert on regional and local government development, Mr Glen Robbins, addressed UKZN’s Graduate School of Business recently as a guest of the Local Economic Development Unit.

The lecture, titled: “The National Development Plan (NDP), Plans and Yet More Plans”, reflected on the relevance of the NDP to local economic development in KwaZulu-Natal.

Robbins said there wasn’t a perfect document for development in South Africa adding that the NDP had both shortcomings and strengths. He stressed how important it was for the different sectors to interrogate and debate what was outlined in the NDP.

He highlighted the slew of challenges identified in the NDP including the low employment figures; the poor quality of black education; poorly located infrastructure which was inadequate and under-maintained; an economy unsustainably resource intensive; a public health system unable to meet the demand for health care; uneven and poor quality public services; corruption and divisions in South African society.

Robbins said the NDP identified important problem areas in need of attention, however it was not clear whether the NDP would be effectively implemented to achieve the necessary results.

‘Collaboration is important between the State and the market place to achieve goals outlined in the Plan. Citizens must be held accountable for their actions.

‘The NDP will provide a common focus for action across all sectors of South African society. Citizens have the right to expect government to deliver certain basic services and hold leaders accountable for their actions,’ said Robbins.

The NDP envisages the creation of new jobs; expanding infrastructure; improving education and training; building a capable State; transformation of urban and rural spaces; providing quality healthcare; uniting the nation and transforming society.

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The topical issues of violence against women and maternal deaths were deliberated at a recent Women’s Health Colloquium.

The meeting was organised by Dr Sisana Majeke, Advanced Midwifery, Neonatal and Child Health Programme Co-ordinator, and her masters students registered for the Women’s Health Programme offered by UKZN’s Discipline of Nursing.

Participants, from various health districts in KwaZulu-Natal, agreed that every citizen had the responsibility to stand up and be counted in support of a national campaign to ensure that perpetrators of crime against women and children were brought to book in order to put an end to violent and sexual offences destroying South Africa’s social fabric.

The sentiments were supported by Professor Busi Ncama, Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health, together with Professor Gugu Mchunu, the Discipline of Nursing’s Academic Leader, and Professor Koleka Mlisana, who heads the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control. The academics, who were all at the colloquium, agreed it was time to move against gender-based violence (GBV).

Maternal deaths – defined as that occuring during pregnancy, childbirth and the period between childbirth and the return of the uterus to its normal size – were said to have a direct impact on realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) five and six which aim to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health globally.

UKZN alumnus, Commissioner Janine Hicks of the Commission for Gender Equity, delivered a compelling evidence-based critique of GBV in South Africa, stating that 60 percent of maternal deaths were preventable but as long as GBV prevailed, South Africa would never see the MGDs realised for women.

Hicks said violence against women was an obstacle to equity which violated basic human rights, negatively impacted on the public health system, increased disrespect and decreased a person’s sense of security. She said one of the biggest problems experienced in combating GBV was the underreporting of incidents.

‘There is no shortage of legislation to criminalise these forms of violence. The South African government has taken a lot of significant steps towards eradicating GBV.’

Hicks said the government already had in place several policies working in favour of victims of offences such as the domestic violence, sexual violence and crimes against children.

She listed the Protection from Harassment and Human Trafficking Bill as well as the upcoming Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill – ‘all of which are examples of the state’s commitment to address GBV’.

Increased public education, raising awareness and generating information on the social services available to community members on the grassroots level, were recognised as key drivers to achieving the common goal of saving the lives of women and children.

Hicks recommended that traditional leaders be well briefed on the Domestic Violence Act and lobbied for women’s economic empowerment and an increase in the limited number of shelters that protect women, children and the elderly - such as the Thuthuzela Care Centres which are spread across high incidence areas in KwaZulu-Natal.

Dr Sagie Naidoo, Forensic Pathologist and Honorary Lecturer at UKZN’s Department of Forensic Medicine, said although South Africa had the highest incidence of rape in the world, violence against women was a persistent and universal problem occurring in every culture and social grouping.

He was among the speakers who said there was a growing need to train forensic nurses in the country in order to ensure that victims of rape and GBV were received by a skilled and multidisciplinary team of professionals at every healthcare centre.

‘We need to look at it from the victim’s perspective,’ he said, explaining that the psychological trauma victims suffered was equally as damaging as the physical trauma they went through.

Professor Jack Moodley, Chairman of the National Committee for Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths (NCCEMD), said five important “H’s” needed attention in the monitoring of maternal deaths.  These were: HIV and AIDS, haemorrhage, hypertension, training health workers and improving the health system in terms of skills and resources.

The masters students reported on their on-going women’s empowerment community project being carried out in four phases which they hoped would be sustainable for women living in the Cato Crest community. The project aims, among others, are to address poverty in the area with the students promoting the planting of vegetable gardens that provide nutrition to the families and income from sales of surplus produce.

Other planned activities include a fun-walk to raise awareness on obesity, a skills workshop and a health promotion day in addition to handing out 200 health awareness leaflets.

Dr Majeke, whose passion is deeply rooted in advanced midwifery, women’s health, community empowerment  and health education, said the event was not just another talk shop but concerned women who get violated, women who die, and women who undergo forensic examinations while the perpetrators are out roaming around scot-free.

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The Citi Foundation, which funds the Enriched Management Studies course, visited UKZN’s College of Law and Management Studies recently to hear about life-changing benefits the programme has made in the lives of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Foundation representative Ms Rachel Barber listened to personal accounts given by commerce students who have completed the EMS programme.

A Senior Development Officer at the UKZN Foundation, Ms Nicola Latchiah said: ‘The Citi Foundation’s invaluable funding has enabled students from disadvantaged background to access Higher Education in a supportive environment. Their generous support has played a prominent role in assisting towards funding the Enriched Management Studies project, one of the flagship projects of the University’s College of Law and Management studies.’

Students spoke about the advantages of the EMS programme and how it had transformed their lives. They said the academic programme helped them adapt to student life, acquire good study skills and learn efficient time management. 

Barber said she was impressed by the students taking the initiative to inform learners in their communities of Higher Education opportunities available to them, such as the EMS programme at UKZN. She commended the students on their hard work and encouraged them to persevere towards achieving their goals.

The Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College, Professor Kriben Pillay said it was a challenging experience for students to adapt to university life. ‘One of the major challenges is making the adjustment from a very prescriptive learning environment to one where there is greater freedom. Also, the emphasis is on taking responsibility for oneself personally, academically, and socially.

‘Many disadvantaged students find this very difficult and need the structures that the university has in place to assist them to make a healthy transition. The other major challenge is having adequate financial resources to sustain their basic needs at university,’ added Pillay.

According to Pillay the Winter School run by the College of Law and Management Studies has been a catalyst for many students who attend university. University visits to schools played an important role believes Pillay. ‘We could also look at providing accessible multi-media coverage of the University that can be accessed via cell phones,’ he said.

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The annual University of KwaZulu-Natal match against Durban Collegians for the Jes Foord Cup takes place at the Howard College campus in Durban on Saturday, 18 May.

There is a full programme of games on the day with eight teams in action including the Premier League side UKZN Impi and teams representing the Howard College, Maritzburg and Westville campuses.

Also featured are U20 sides and women’s teams.

Bar proceeds will go towards the Rugby Against Rape foundation.

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