Dr Nitasha Magan, a UKZN academic and Gynaecologist, has graduated with a Masters in Medicine Degree in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Her research study for the MMED degree - the first of its kind in the country - is titled: “The frequency of insulin resistance and hyperlipidaemia in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) attending Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital”. She obtained a distinction for her dissertation.

Magan joined UKZN as an undergraduate studying towards the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree in 1999. After graduating as a Medical Doctor, she registered for the MMED and served as a Registrar in training under the supervision and leadership of renowned Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Professor Jayanthilal Bagratee. In 2010, Magan registered with the College of Medicine of South Africa as a qualified Gynaecologist.

Magan’s study focused on a gynaecological problem, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which affects women – particularly Asians - around the world. PCOS is one of the most common endocrinopathies in women of reproductive age with the prevalence estimated to be around 5 percent in the general population. Literature on the prevalence of the disease in black women is limited and this prompted Magan to embark on this study.

Participants were patients visiting either the gynaecology endocrine or fertility clinics at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban between 2005 and 2009. In total 110 patients were analysed.

Magan found that, in keeping with international markers, PCOS was most prevalent among Indian patients with 87 being diagnosed with PCOS compared to 16 African patients, five coloured patients and two white patients.

Although the international findings indicate a similar pattern of the disease among the various race groups; Magan found that South African Indian women also presented with obesity, Diabetes Mellitus and an impaired glucose tolerance test. This was not seen globally in women with PCOS. Magan also found that none of the African patients had Diabetes Mellitus or Hyperlipidaemia.

Hence, although there are no differences in the hormonal and clinical profile of South African Indian and African women with PCOS, there is a trend toward Indian women having a greater prevalence of glucose abnormalities than African women.

Magan’s study recommends further studies in the management of metabolic abnormalities in local women with PCOS, in an attempt to develop a protocol to manage the complexities of PCOS.

She currently lectures in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at UKZN and provides a clinical service to hospitals in the Durban Metropolitan district.

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Four women along with Dr Folorunso Omiskin are triumphant new Doctors of Philosophy in the nursing profession after graduating from the College of Health Sciences on April 16.


These women took on the PhD challenge on top of their demanding jobs and on-going family responsibilities to oversee the advancement and improvement of health care in South Africa.


Professor Busi Ncama, Dean and Head of the School of Nursing and Public Health, said she was very proud of the graduates and excited that two – Dr Jennifer de Beer and Dr Joanne Naidoo – were UKZN staff members.


They graduated along with Dr Bridget Akin-Otiko, Dr Folorunso Omisakin and Dr Ayisha Razak who all said they were overjoyed and humbled by their achievement.


Towards Enhancing Family Care during Critical Illness in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in the Durban Metropolitan Areas, in KwaZulu-Natal, was the title of de Beer’s study. Findings of this study revealed that a sudden critical illness of a loved one could lead to a possible crisis for family members as well, and this unexpected event was further complicated by the technological environment of the intensive care unit that appears foreign, threatening the equilibrium of the family as a unit. 


The study recommends that for nursing practice, family assessments should become an integral part of the intensive care nurses’ daily activities. Along with the introduction of a family care co-ordinator to co-ordinate the care between family members and health care professionals, the inclusion of family care into the curricula of health care professional training was recommended.


Naidoo’s dissertation: “A Grounded Inquiry: Establishing Communities of Practice among HIV/AIDS Nurses Practitioners through the use of Critical Reflection at Selected Hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa”, was supervised by Professor Fikile Mtshali, Dean: Teaching and Learning in the College of Health Sciences.


Dr Zakariya Badat has graduated from the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine (NRMSM) with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree, summa cum laude.


Badat, currently serving an internship at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in Durban, chose to pursue a career in medicine as ‘it provides a mix of theory and practice….which is done through a medium of caring’.


Badat said: ‘The five years of study at NRMSM was exceptional. From the teaching aspect, lecturers were keen to assist individually even though they were dealing with a class of more than 200. The curriculum was well structured and organised. It was also great working with my colleagues and friends who played a great role in motivating and assisting me.’


Badat believes that simple strategies can lead to drastic change mentioning that in his third year of study, the class was exposed to the teachings of Stephen Luby on how hand washing reduces diarrhoeal illnesses. The randomised controlled study found that hand washing with soap together with education on the practice reduces diarrhoeal illness by 53 percent. ‘I haven’t yet focused on research but if I did, it would hopefully have a similar theme of simplicity combined with efficacy.


‘I would like to hopefully one day study internal medicine as a speciality. It would be an honour to again work with esteemed physicians, such as Professor Dennis Pudifin who tutored me in my third, fourth and final years, instilling in me a great love for this speciality.’


Badat grew up in Weenen and matriculated from Siraatul Haq Islamic School with 7 A’s.

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Dr Anton Hans de Waard, a well known KwaZulu-Natal Homeopath, has graduated from UKZN with a Masters in Sport Medicine degree (summa cum laude).


De Waard and academic excellence are no strangers! In 1996, whilst studying towards a Masters Degree in Technology: Homeopathy, he achieved top marks and a distinction in Clinical Homeopathy IV.


For his Masters degree in Sport Medicine, he submitted a dissertation titled: “Respiratory Tract Symptoms in Multi-Day Trail Runners - a Focus on Allergy”. The first of two papers emanating from this work has been accepted for publication in the SA Medical Journal.


The study was conducted by examining physiological responses of trail runners during the Three Cranes Challenge - a multi-day, 95km event divided into three stages in Karkloof. The examination included self-reported respiratory tract symptoms (RTS) over a 31-day period (pre, during and post-race), as well as pre-race Phadiatop® status, serum IgE, cortisol, high-sensitivity CRP, full blood counts and salivary IgA concentrations.


The main aim of the study was to relate the incidence of RTS to the general systemic and salivary immunological profile as well as atopic status of the participants. A second aim of the study was to validate the use of the Phadiatop® assay as a predictor of allergy-associated post-race RTS in trail runners. Symptoms of respiratory tract infection occur commonly in athletes during heavy training and after events, resulting in impaired readiness for events and race times.


Over the past few decades numerous studies have investigated the cause of these “infections”, however a large percentage of cases remain unexplained. Continuing the extensive work of Supervisor Professor Edith Peters-Futre in the field of exercise immunology, this study examined the role that allergy has to play in the development of post-race RTS.


Results indicated that RTS in trail runners have a multi-factorial aetiology. A total of 78.6 percent of subjects met the criteri
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Research conducted by seven students at UKZN’s HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) has shed new light on how HIV is transmitted and either manifests itself or is brought under control by the immune system.


Five of the students have graduated with PhDs while the other two attained Master of Medical Science degrees.


The PhD students are Dr Jaclyn Wright, Dr Christina Thobakgale, Dr Derseree Archary, Dr Paradise Madlala and Dr Danni Ramduth. Mr Bongiwe Ndlovu and Mr Shivan Chetty received Masters degrees.


Wright investigated the impact of immune-driven Sequence variation in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection subtype C Gag-Protease on viral fitness and disease progression. Gag is an important viral protein that the virus needs to replicate in human cells. 


Wright found that HLA proteins associated with slower HIV-1 disease progression selected for slower HIV-1 replication capacity through driving mutations in Gag. The data supports the concept of an HIV-1 vaccine in which immune responses are directed towards several conserved regions of HIV-1 Gag with the aim to constrain immune escape mutations and slow HIV-1 replication, thereby resulting in slower disease progression. Slower disease progression results in reduced HIV-1 transmission in the population.


Wright said: ‘I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this research project and achieve a PhD degree. It has been a wonderful experience, allowing me to travel and contribute to science.’ Wright is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the HPP.


Thobakgale’s study investigated whether age at the time of HIV-1 infection, the viral proteins targeted by the immune system, the functionality of the generated responses, genetic make-up and the maternal immune responses to HIV, influenced disease progression in children.

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The Department of Behavioural Medicine is proud to announce that three of its students graduated with PhDs on April 16. The PhDs contribute to the trauma, neuropsychology and behavioural medicine fields of research.


The Department's clinical psychology services and teaching commitments in the province focus on the interaction between behavioural medicine, clinical health psychology, clinical psychology, medicine, and psychiatry. At most district and regional hospitals, community facilities and all teaching hospitals, the Department offers clinical services that have undergone transformation and restructuring.


‘The PhD’s are of an excellent standard,’ said Professor Basil Pillay, Head of Behavioural Medicine. ‘Not only do they have global implications but are extremely relevant to the South African and African context. Their research adds to the dearth in local knowledge and understanding of the conditions investigated.’


Intellectual disability is the focus of Dr Toyin Aderemi’s PhD, a Ford Foundation Scholar from Nigeria. The Foundation recommended that she studies at UKZN because of the expertise in the Department. Her research was on HIV knowledge, attitudes and beliefs among the intellectually impaired and mainstream learners in Oyo State, Nigeria.


Her study will contribute, inter alia, to the development of cognitive norms in assessing African people and influencing policy related to HIV/ AIDS, cognitive impairment and disabilities. She is currently the HIV/Disability Technical Co-ordinator for Handicap International in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Dr Magnolia Sithole who has taken up the position of Senior Psychologist at Stikland Psychiatric Hospital in the Western Cape conducted research in the field of sexual abuse. Her research not only adds to the lack of research on sexual abuse in the country and in Africa but also focuses on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and the neuropsychology of trauma in the sexually abused. The study moreover focuses on women and children. She said she was excited to see the fruits of her labour.


“Neuropsychological functioning adjustment in spinal cord injured patients”, is the title of Dr Nancy Moodley’s PhD. She argues that very little is understood and known about the psychological adjustment to spinal cord injury in this country, and given the high rate of road traffic accidents, gunshot wounds and violent crime, spinal cord injuries are a huge public health issue.

Dr Emmerentia Christina Denissen, a qualified Homeopath and former South African duathlon champion, has graduated cum laude from UKZN’s Discipline of Human Physiology with a course-work Masters Degree in Sport Medicine.


Her study titled: “Muscle Damage and Inflammation following a Three-Day Trail Run”, is the first of its kind in the country and has been published in the South African Journal of Sports Medicine.


Trail running events are becoming increasingly popular and are generally regarded as more strenuous than road running due to the nature of the trails. Although physiological responses to single-day trail running had been assessed, the cumulative effects of multi-day trail running on markers of muscle damage and inflammation had not been reported.


Denissen’s study aimed to investigate the effect of a three-day trail run on systemic and urinary markers of muscle damage and inflammation in recreational runners and to establish the association of dehydration and hyperthermia with these markers. A second aim was to observe the effect of the three-day trail run on systemic and urinary markers of muscle damage and inflammation on an additional hypercholesterolaemic (high cholesterol levels) woman athlete using statin medication in combination with a lipid uptake inhibitor.


The observational cohort consisted of 19 recreational men and 13 women athletes on a 95km trail run over three days. Denissen’s study found that three consecutive days of the 5km trail running resulted in low markers of muscle damage and inflammation, when compared to results obtained in previous single day road races of similar duration. The study also did not find a positive correlation between muscle damage and dehydration despite the maintenance of a  heart rate above 77 percent APmax, Tintest rising above 39o C and mean body mass decrement of  >2.0 percent.


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Dr Tricia Naicker, a 2011 recipient of the Department of Science and Technology’s Women in Science award, has graduated with a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from UKZN’s School of Health Sciences.


Naicker has produced 28 ISI peer-reviewed publications and a book chapter with the well-known scientific publishing house, Elsevier.


Naicker’s PhD thesis titled: “Synthesis and Evaluation of Novel Tetrahydroisoquinoline Organocatalysts in Asymmetric Catalysis”, was carried out under the supervision of UKZN’s Dr T Govender (Pharmacy), Professor HG Kruger, Dr GEM Maguire (Chemistry) and Professor P I Arvidsson of Uppsala University in Sweden. This research group is presently the only one in South Africa doing research in the field of organocatalysis. 


Naicker’s project covers one of the most cutting-edge research areas in pharmaceutical chemistry. Asymmetric catalysis is not only imperative to the pharmaceutical industry but also in the generation of non-linear optical devices, the control of polymer structure and properties, the agrochemical industry, flavours, fragrances, the study of nearly all biochemical processes and the pursuit of understanding molecular recognition.


This field has captured the attention of chemists around the world to such an extent that entire research groups are dedicated to the design, synthesis and testing of novel asymmetric organocatalysts.  The last decade has seen an explosive growth in the number of studies in this field and it is currently one of the “hottest” topics in organic synthetic research internationally.


Naicker matriculated from Arena Park Secondary School in Chatsworth, completed a BSC (Honours) degree in 2006, a Masters Degree (cum laude) in Science in 2008 and has now completed her PhD. She has been accepted for a post-doctoral fellowship this year at the prestigious Centre for Catalysis at Aarhus University in Denmark.

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UKZN’s Department of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Studies has produced two Masters (cum laude) graduates under the supervision of renowned exercise scientist, Associate Professor Andrew McKune.


They are Ms Jolene Mortimer, Masters in Sport Science, Research; and Ms Takshita Sookan, Masters in Sport Science Biokinetics, Coursework.


Commenting on his students’ tremendous achievement, McKune said: ‘We are extremely proud of their achievements. Both Takshita and Jolene are very bright and motivated students who not only impressed us with their work ethic, attention to detail and creativity but also their all round contribution to the Department.


‘Their research has already been published in internationally recognised peer reviewed journals as well as presented at national and international levels. The findings of their research were novel and have applications to the fields of health promotion, performance and physical education.’


Mortimer’s study titled: “Sport Stacking in Auditory and Visual Attention of Grade 3 Learners”, investigated the effect of sport stacking on auditory and visual attention in 32 Grade 3 learners from Westville Junior Primary School.


The learners were randomly assigned into two groups of 16 each. One group was assigned to sport stacking and another to an art/craft activity. Both groups were assigned to the task over a three week period. The learners were then given a three-week break and swopped tasks again for a three-week period.


Sport stacking is either an individual or team sport that involves stacking specialised plastic cups in specific sequences as quickly as possible. It has been recognised internationally as a sport that improves hand-eye co-ordination, ambidexterity and participants learn co-operation.


Ms Thashni Pillay, a 20-year-old from Phoenix, Durban, is UKZN’s first student to graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Medical Science (Anatomy) degree.


This was exciting news for her proud and supportive family and friends who recall that from the time she was a little child, she always saw herself pursuing a career in the medical field.


Driven by the motto: Never give up no matter how hard things may get, Pillay achieved 14 Certificates of Merit and five Dean’s Commendations during the duration of her studies at UKZN. In her final year of study, Pillay was elected the Anatomy Class Representative.


‘I have worked hard in my studies from my first year so when I received the news that I achieved summa cum laude, I was very happy to know that my hard work had paid off.’


Pillay said apart from being close to home, UKZN was her institution of choice as it offered a good variety of career options. ‘I enjoyed all the modules that were incorporated in my degree.  At times it does become challenging but my enthusiasm for my subjects, especially anatomy, had made me eager and excited to learn more.


‘It’s not only about the theory behind the modules, but also the exciting and intriguing practicals that enable students to have a “hands on” experience,’ she remarked. 


Pillay said her fondest memory of UKZN was how friendly both the students and staff were. ‘It is a big step adjusting from a school environment to a campus one, and having this friendly and lively atmosphere makes you feel more comfortable.’


Five students from the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine (NRMSM) provided living proof that hard work and dedication pays off when they graduated cum laude for the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.


Dr Bibi Ayesha Ebrahim Moosa, Dr Mariam Peer, Dr Leeshen Pillay, Dr Safeeya Osman and Dr Swabhavika Singh of the Class of 2011 made lecturers, family and friends very proud as they progressed through the MBChB programme.


During their final year, NRMSM recognised its undergraduate top achievers and 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. She was also awarded for excellence in Paediatrics.


‘To find out that I had completed my degree cum laude was a moment I cannot put into words,’ said Peer whose life-long dream has always been to help others as a doctor.


During her studies at UKZN, Peer has received the Prestige Entrant Scholarship, PPS Best Clinical Skills Award and membership in the Golden Key Honour Society.  She also walked away with the Department of Surgery Prize, the

Eleven students in the College of Health Sciences have excelled and graduated with Honours Degrees in Medical Biochemistry.


Well on their way to becoming expert young researchers, this talented group was supervised by staff, senior postgraduate students and the Head of the Discipline of Medical Biochemistry, Associate Professor Anil Chuturgoon, who said it had been a pleasure working with such an energetic and positive bunch.


Chuturgoon said the students personified the discipline’s vision for on-going research excellence to produce leaders to help the global community in the fight against chronic diseases.


One of the 11, Mr Bonga Ntuli progressed into the medical profession while six others, who share a common goal of attaining their PhDs, decided to follow their research passion and pursue a Masters qualification in the discipline.


The group found that there were no barriers between staff and students in the programme. ‘It’s like family here. Working with Professor Chuturgoon is the best part. He really pushes you to hone your talent.’


‘Masters is definitely increasing our options,’ said Mr Rishalan Govender, who graduated summa cum laude.


Ms Savania Nagiah, who graduated cum laude, said cutting edge research remained critical in a country still so burdened with HIV and other chronic diseases. Colleagues Ms Charlotte Tiloke, Ms Prithiksha Ramkaran and Mr Ireshyn Govender, who also graduated cum laude, share Nagiah’s sentiments


Ms Vani Chetty, co-supervised by Professor Daya Moodley, did Honours research titled: Evaluation of a 4th Generation Rapid HIV Test for Earlier and Reliable Detection of HIV Infection in Pregnancy, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Virology.

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Hard work and an unyielding passion for sport scored Mr Jakobus Olivier a Bachelor of Sport Science degree - summa cum laude!


Olivier has accrued an impressive academic record, receiving Dean’s commendations for every semester in the duration of his degree, certificates of merit for the majority of his courses, and has also been a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society since the end of his first year.


He juggles this with old-time hobbies of swimming, sport climbing and squash, and enjoys gym training. Apart from watching mainstream sport, he seizes any opportunity to watch extreme sports.


Olivier is set on a dream to have his own biokinetics practice in the near future and says: ‘Health and wellness is on the tip of every person’s tongue, and it is our duty as sport scientists, biokineticists or exercise scientists to assist where we can.’ He said he found it fascinating how the human body
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Father and daughter, Professor Soornarain Subramoney (Cyril) Naidoo and Dr Ashantha Naidoo, were excited to make their way to graduation on April 16 as both were receiving postgraduate degrees in Family Medicine.


Professor Naidoo, Chief Specialist and Servier Head of the Department of Family Medicine at UKZN, received a PhD for his study titled: "The Impact of a Brief Intervention Programme on Suicide Behaviour in a South African Community".


His daughter was awarded a Master’s degree for her research: "Tuberculosis in Medical Doctors in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Personal Experiences and Reflections related to Their Diagnosis and Treatment".


Professor Naidoo’s PhD contributes to the World Health Organization’s on-going project looking at ways in which suicide rates can be reduced in low- to middle-income counties.


His study assessed the impact of a brief intervention programme conducted in two state hospitals in which participants allocated to either of two intervention groups (control and buddy groups) were followed up over 18 months and analysed for repeat suicide behaviour, impact on health and mental well-being, and screened for further medical support.


The results showed there were fewer suicides and suicidal attempts in the buddy group compared to the control group. The buddy intervention was found to be simple, effective and relevant in the South African context, and could be adopted as part of a public health strategy required to alleviate the alarming burden imposed by suicidal behaviour.


A clinical guideline has been developed by Professor Naidoo and is being proposed for widespread implementation especially in low- to middle-income countries such as South Africa.


The findings were well received by the national and provincial Departments of Health which have agreed that the clinical guide introduced in the study should be published and widely distributed for the wi
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Dr Nikhil Singh, a registered Obstetrician and Gynaecologist as well as an academic at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine has graduated with a Masters in Medicine degree (Obstetrics and Gynaecology). His dissertation titled, “A review of Ectopic Pregnancies in an Under-Resourced Setting”, is novel to the province of KwaZulu-Natal.


Ectopic pregnancies are life-threatening emergency conditions and the majority of cases occur when the fertilized egg settles in the fallopian tube and not in the uterus. The egg can also implant in the ovary, abdomen or cervix where there is inadequate space for the egg to grow. Often the area in which the egg has implanted would burst and lead to severe bleeding endangering the mother’s life.


Conducted at the King Edward VIII hospital between 2005 and 2006, Singh’s study included 120 patients that were diagnosed with ectopic pregnancies. The study investigated the patient profile, clinical features, risk factors and management options together with complications in ectopic pregnancy. Patients’ ages ranged from between 17-40 years, with a mean average of 28 years.


Singh found that the majority of women (88 percent) presented with abdominal pain, 77 percent with amenorrhea and 70 percent with vaginal bleeding. The most common sign was tenderness (82 percent). The most frequent risk factors were previous genital infection in 34 patients (28.3 percent) and multiple sexual partners in 32 patients (26.7 percent).  


The majority of the patients were managed by laparotomy. 92.4 percent of patients were managed through this process. Some were managed via the laparoscopic route. This is a process whereby a laparoscope (a thin, flexible instrument) is inserted through small incisions in the abdomen. During this surgery a tiny incision is made in the fallopian tube and the trophoblastic tissue is removed, preserving the integrity of the fallopian tube.


Surgical treatment also consisted of salpingectomy 101/120 (84.9 percent) and salpingotomy in 4 (3.4 percent) patients. Salpingectomy is a surgical procedure whereby the fallopian tubes are removed either partially or completely. 


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Ms Veruschka Naidoo graduated with a Masters Degree in Communication Pathology (Audiology) from UKZN through a study titled: “A newborn hearing screening programme in a South African private health care facility: A retrospective study”.


The thesis analysed data of all newborn children at Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg between 2005 and 2010.


Naidoo’s study investigated and reported on certain aspects of a universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) programme implemented at the maternity ward on a total of 1 382 participants. The UNHS was introduced internationally when it was found that one in every 1 000 babies is born with a hearing loss in one or both ears. This hearing screening test allows those babies with hearing loss to be identified early so that support and information can be provided to parents at an early stage.


Results of Naidoo’s study indicated that the coverage rate of the UNHS programme did not achieve the benchmark standard of 95 percent as recommended by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).   Negative economic factors, lack of staff training and poor public awareness were identified as areas attributing to the low coverage rate.


Naidoo said: ‘A low coverage rate may also be attributed to the emotional state of parents, who are often anxious and may perceive the hearing screen as an additional test that could cause further distress to their infant.  The age at which an infant was tested also had a highly significant impact on the referral rate.  The older the infants were when tested, resulted in a lower referral rate in the UNHS programme.’


Naidoo also examined the referral rate of the UNHS programme which was found to fall short of the recommendations made by the HPCSA (2007).  She suggested this could be attributed to early screening of infants, before they were 2.8 days old, as screening was only offered at the clinic from Monday to Friday.  The discharge of infants before they were three days old was an additional factor.

A study which focused on young children with a cleft lip or palate has earned Ms Marlene Chetty of UKZN’s School of Health Sciences a Masters of Communication Pathology (Speech-Language Pathology) degree.


Her study - the first of its kind in KwaZulu-Natal - investigated speech-language therapy services for children with a cleft lip and/or palate from birth to three years within the province’s Health sector.


A cleft lip and palate is a gap which occurs when the lip or the roof of the mouth does not completely fuse together during the first trimester of fetal development. The lip and palate develop separately so it is possible for a child to have a cleft lip, a cleft palate or both. Children with an unrepaired cleft palate have a nasal quality to their speech as air escapes through the gap in the roof of the mouth and out the nose. These children may also have difficulty generating enough air pressure to produce certain sounds. After cleft lip repair, most children develop almost normal speech.


Services for children with cleft lip and/or palate, including speech-language therapy can begin prenatally and continue into adulthood. At the early intervention stage, these services include, but are not limited to, early surgical intervention, early orthodontic intervention, early audiological intervention as well as early speech-language assessment and therapy.


Chetty’s study consisted of a descriptive survey from 19 speech-language therapists from the public health sector and four from the private sector, to obtain an overview of speech-language therapy services for children with cleft lip and/or palate in the KwaZulu-Natal health sector.


Results indicated that most speech-language therapists were consulted within a few days of the birth of a child with a cleft lip and/or palate. This finding is consistent with international guidelines. Assessments included taking a case history, an oral peripheral examination, an observational feeding assessment and a speech-language assessment.


Audiological assessment and assessment of resonance were mentioned by a minority of participants. Chetty found this concerning as middle ear infection is a common occurrence in cleft palate, and resonance is a major concern. Feeding devices for cleft lip and/or palate children are not always available immediately and hence appear contradictory to the National Rehabilitation Policy which states that instant access to these devices sh
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