RESEARCH ON LAUGHTER YOGA WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARD

RESEARCH ON LAUGHTER YOGA WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARD

Mother and daughter team, Dr Gita Suraj-Narayan and Ms Sheroma Suraj-Narayan received the Best Health Care Management Research Study Award at the 7th Emirates Critical Care Conference (ECCC) 2011 in Dubai.  Dr Suraj-Narayan is a Senior Lecturer at UKZN’s School of Social Work and Community Development and her Microbiologist daughter is an alumnus of the University.  

 

The research study, titled “Biopsychosocial Impact of Laughter Yoga on Stroke Survivors” was inspired by their work in Verulam, on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Using Laughter Yoga, they have transformed the lives of stroke patients and senior citizens from both rural and urban areas.  

 

The results speak for themselves: patients experienced a decrease in blood pressure, reduction in blood sugar levels, reduction in intensity of pain, recovery from cognitive deficits, strengthening of the immune system, good cardiac conditioning and enhanced mobility. Psychologically, there was an increase in positive emotions and post stroke depression decreased. ‘Laughter Yoga has made the respondents more optimistic about life and coping capabilities have increased. Their relationship with the health care professionals, family members and communities has been enhanced, leading to reduction in compassion fatigue and care-giver burden’, said Dr Suraj-Narayan.

 

This therapy model is validated by the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine, a reflection that the medical fraternity is breaking away from traditional forms of medical care and looking to alternative models for holistic healing.  

 

The mother and daughter are the first in the world to develop a system of holistic health care management combining Laughter Yoga with yoga boxing, tai chi and cognitive restructuring.

 

The eThekwini Department of Health and Social Development has endorsed Laughter Yoga as an alternate form of healing and therapy. The Suraj-Narayans won an Oprah Magazine (O-Magazine) award as one of the Change-makers for South Africa and a documentary of their work was reco
author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

MEDICAL SCHOOL RECOGNISES UNDERGRADUATE TOP ACHIEVERS

MEDICAL SCHOOL RECOGNISES UNDERGRADUATE TOP ACHIEVERS

The Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine held its annual undergraduate awards ceremony on May 4. The top achieving students who completed their first to fourth years in 2010 were recognised for dedication and hard work.

 

Award recipients, family members and friends were welcomed by the Medical School’s senior management, academic staff and award sponsors. Dean of the Medical School, Professor Umesh Lalloo recalled his own years as a student and encouraged all recipients to continue to excel academically and to make the necessary sacrifices in the pursuit of success in their careers. He noted that his own successes in life came about through much sacrifice, hardship and support from family, friends and mentors.

 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Tahir Pillay encouraged a spirit of excellence and teamwork among students. He encouraged students to take advantage of the many research opportunities available at postgraduate level and to sign up as Registrars upon graduation.

 

Ms Bibi Aayesha Ebrahim Moosa scooped three awards: for Best Overall Achiever, Best Achiever of the Year, and Best Psychiatry Student during her fourth year. She received a cheque for R1 000 from Bouwer and Partners, a book prize from the Department of Psychiatry and a gift from The ‘Varsity Shop.

 

Third-year student, Mr Anand Naranbhai scooped the Best Overall Achiever Award. He received a cheque to the value of R1 000 from Lancet Laboratories and another from the Professional Provident Society valued at R750 for the top third year student who has successfully contributed to the development of an intervention programme in a rural area.

 

Fourth-year student Mr Kuzolunga Xulu was the first student to receive the Jason Duncan Memorial Prize for Surgery. The family of the late Jason Duncan, a medical student who passed away last year presented him with the award.


author email : memelala@ukzn.ac.za

SCIENCE AND AGRICULTURE REWARDS EXCELLENCE

SCIENCE AND AGRICULTURE REWARDS EXCELLENCE

The annual Science and Agriculture Awards Ceremony provided the perfect opportunity for the Faculty to pay tribute to its top students. Held on the Pietermaritzburg campus, this event is a major highlight on the Faculty’s calendar of activities.

Thirty-three awards, from a variety of disciplines, were presented at the Ceremony which was attended by parents, staff and sponsors.    In his opening speech, the Deputy Dean of Science and Agriculture, Professor Kevin Kirkman, thanked all the sponsors for their support and interest in the Faculty.  He made special mention of the staff, many of whom ‘go the extra mile’ to ensure their students receive a top-quality education and experience at UKZN. 

Sponsored by corporate and individual sponsors, the prizes awarded to the students ranged from monetary awards and book vouchers to medals and trophies.  Many sponsors enjoy a long association with the Faculty and take a special interest in its activities.  The AA Rayner Book Prizes for Statistics, in honour of former Biometry staff member, Professor Arthur Rayner, are still kept up by his widow, Dr Nancy Rayer.  She said, ‘My husband died in 1994, so this is the 17th time that I have kept up the prizes.’ 

Sadly, this year’s Awards Ceremony was without the presence of Professor George Quicke who passed away earlier in the year.  The GV Quicke Prize for the Best Biochemistry Student at Level 7, which is named after Quicke who was the first Chair of Biochemistry and former Dean of Agriculture, was presented by his widow, Mrs Margaret Quicke. 

Ecological Science student, Mr Manqoba Zungu, received five different awards for his performance and Mr Muhammad Kadwa excelled in Agricultural Economics, with two awards.  Dux of all the agricultural and dietetics programmes was Ms Lisa Burgdorf who also received the Nestlé Prize for the Best final-year Dietetics Student. 


author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za

WORKSHOP PREPARES THE GROUND FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING CONFERENCE

WORKSHOP PREPARES THE GROUND FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING CONFERENCE

In preparation for UKZN’s 5th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference in September, a pre-conference workshop on ‘Developing an abstract’ was held on May 4 as part of a series of three workshops.

 

The purpose of the workshops, facilitated by Dr Caroline Goodier and Mrs Ruth Searle, is to give the participants support and help them develop conference papers. The workshops have been running for the past three years.

 

The participants were advised on the pros and cons of an abstract. The role of an abstract as a marketing tool was highlighted as it “sells” the paper to the conference organisers, whilst also providing a strong guide for conference participants in their choice of session to attend. Abstracts are important for articles and for applying online in showcasing work being done. The workshop aimed to provide support for participants in getting their papers submitted on time.

 

Exercises and group discussions allowed participants to share different viewpoints. Structure and function in a range of published abstracts and how these link with the design of conference papers and journal articles were discussed.  Participants also drafted their own abstracts with guidance and feedback from the facilitators.

 

The UKZN Teaching and Learning Conference has been running successfully for five years.  According to Goodier and Searle, the number of academics from across various Faculties attending and presenting papers has grown steadily.  Presenters from beyond the borders of the country have also been attracted to the Conference. 

 

The Conference is an exciting means of stimulating debate and awareness of good practice in university teaching and supervision.  The pre-conference workshops assist academics in the process of participating in these important dialogues.


author email : shanbangus@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN HYDROLOGIST FOCUSES ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND AGRICULTURE IN NEW BOOK

UKZN HYDROLOGIST FOCUSES ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND AGRICULTURE IN NEW BOOK

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries recently published a new 400-page book by Emeritus Professor Roland Schulze, who is one of South Africa’s top water scientists.  Titled Atlas of Climate Change and the South African Agriculture Sector: A 2010 perspective, the publication is the first comprehensive document on this subject.  It deals with the dynamic and important relationship of climate to agriculture and comprises a review of recent studies followed by an assessment of the significance of climate change on the South African agricultural scene.  In addition, it discusses the symbiotic interrelationship of the impact of water on agriculture versus those of agriculture on water.     

The findings presented by Schulze are the culmination of a three-year research project funded by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and involving UKZN’s School of Bioresources Engineering and Environmental Hydrology and the Water Research Commission (WRC). 

In the foreword to the Atlas, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Honourable Tina Joemat-Pettersson, states that ‘climate change is no longer a matter of speculation’ and that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it has become a reality.  South Africa’s agriculture sector is one of the most sensitive sectors of the country’s economy, and with further projected changes in climates, it will inevitably be affected, she said.

The importance of the agricultural sector in South Africa and on the African continent is borne out by the following statistics: while South Africa only comprises four percent of the continent, it produces over 30 percent of the continent’s maize, nearly 30 percent of its sugarcane, 20 percent of its mutton and beef and three percent of its wheat.  In addition, it features amongst the world’s seven leading net exporters of food products. 

According to Schulze, who, at the end of last year was appointed to the National Water Advisory Council, the most limiting factor in agriculture in South Africa is the availability of water.  ‘Rainfall is generally low and erratic for rainfed agriculture, while the relatively small irrigated sector utilises approximately 60 percent of the RSA’s stored water’, said Schulze.  Compounding the problem is that over 80 percent of the country’s land surface is semi-arid to arid, which severely limits the potential for crop production. 

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author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za