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Low carbohydrate diets result in similar weight losses to recommended balanced diets

Findings debunk claims that low carbohydrate diets result in more weight loss


Low carbohydrate diets result in similar weight losses when compared to recommended balanced diets, according to researchers at Stellenbosch University.

The study, published in the online journal PLOS ONE, pooled the results of 19 clinical trials that met specific criteria and measured weight loss and heart disease risk factors such as blood cholesterol levels. This study included 3,209 overweight and obese participants, some with diabetes.

"This systematic review shows that when the amount of energy consumed by people following the low carbohydrate and balanced diets was similar, there was no difference in weight loss after 3 to 6 months and after 1 to 2 years in those with and without diabetes", said lead researcher Dr Celeste Naudé from the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care at Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Low carbohydrate diets reduce energy (kilojoule) intake by avoiding starchy foods (such as oats, bread, rice, potatoes, beans and lentils), and by restricting certain vegetables (such as butternut and carrots) and most fruits. The diets recommend people eat as much fat as they want, especially animal fats, or as much protein as they like, or both. When following extreme forms of these diets, around 80% of a person's energy can come from fat alone. High fat and protein intake is known to reduce hunger leading to less food intake and thus less energy intake.

 

 

Low carbohydrate diets result in similar weight losses to recommended balanced diets

Findings debunk claims that low carbohydrate diets result in more weight loss


Low carbohydrate diets result in similar weight losses when compared to recommended balanced diets, according to researchers at Stellenbosch University.

The study, published in the online journal PLOS ONE, pooled the results of 19 clinical trials that met specific criteria and measured weight loss and heart disease risk factors such as blood cholesterol levels. This study included 3,209 overweight and obese participants, some with diabetes.

"This systematic review shows that when the amount of energy consumed by people following the low carbohydrate and balanced diets was similar, there was no difference in weight loss after 3 to 6 months and after 1 to 2 years in those with and without diabetes", said lead researcher Dr Celeste Naudé from the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care at Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Low carbohydrate diets reduce energy (kilojoule) intake by avoiding starchy foods (such as oats, bread, rice, potatoes, beans and lentils), and by restricting certain vegetables (such as butternut and carrots) and most fruits. The diets recommend people eat as much fat as they want, especially animal fats, or as much protein as they like, or both. When following extreme forms of these diets, around 80% of a person's energy can come from fat alone. High fat and protein intake is known to reduce hunger leading to less food intake and thus less energy intake.

By contrast, a balanced weight loss diet reduces energy intake by guiding healthy food choices and decreasing portion sizes, while keeping the carbohydrate, protein and fat within the recommended ranges of intake. A balanced diet includes plenty of vegetables and fruit, with intake of unrefined carbohydrates (such as oats, brown rice, whole grains, sweet potato and beans) and emphasises vegetable and fish fats and oils instead of animal fats, as well as lean proteins (such as lean meats, fish and seafood, poultry and lower fat dairy). Large studies over long time periods show that this diet pattern ensures that all nutrient requirements are met and reduces the risk of chronic lifestyle diseases.

"Weight loss occurs, irrespective of whether the diet is low carbohydrate or balanced, and there is little or no difference in weight loss or changes in heart disease risk factors and diabetes markers up to two years of follow-up", said Professor Jimmy Volmink, co-author and Dean of the Faculty.

Dr Vash Mungal-Singh, Chief Executive Officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa said: "This study clears up the misperception that low carbohydrate diets are more effective for weight loss. It is important to note that heart disease and stroke develop over many years of exposure to unhealthy diets and other risk factors such as smoking, obesity, high alcohol intake and inactivity. The follow-up of these 2 weight loss trials is no longer than two years, which is too short to provide an adequate picture of the long term risk of following a low carbohydrate diet."

The full article is available from PLOS ONE
A summary of the article is available from the CEBHC.

 

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Researchers find ancestral link to Parkinson’s disease

 

 

Prof Jonathan Carr

The study, a collaboration between Prof Gerhard Geldenhuys of the Division of Applied Mathematics at the Faculty of Science, and the Divisions of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, and Neurology at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, traced Parkinson’s disease in 12 Afrikaans families back to a specific couple of Dutch and German ancestry that settled in the Cape in the 1600s.

Other disorders such as Huntington’s disease and schizophrenia have previously been linked to specific Afrikaner genealogies, but this is the first time that Parkinson’s disease was linked to this group.

Combined therapy improves smoking cessation rates

 

Prof Elvis Irusen

Combining the smoking cessation medication varenicline (branded in South Africa as Chantix) with nicotine replacement therapy was more effective than varenicline alone at achieving tobacco abstinence at six months, according to a Stellenbosch University study published in the July 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The combination of behavioural approaches and pharmacotherapy are of proven benefit in assisting smokers to quit. Combining nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) with varenicline has been a suggested treatment to improve smoking abstinence, but its effectiveness is uncertain, according to background information in the article.

Students petition for safe working hours

Shifts for young doctors can stretch up to 36 hours.

Medical students at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences are part of a group of interns and community service doctors petitioning the Minister of Health to reduce the working hours of junior doctors that can currently stretch up to 36 hours.

“South African interns and community service doctors are working continuous shifts, commonly of 28 hours but sometimes up to 36 hours, with no or little rest. The result is an increase in medical errors which can harm or lead to the death of patients,” reads the mission statement of the Safe Working Hours Campaign.

Research shows that after being awake for 24 hours, a person’s cognitive psychomotor performance decreases to a level similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol level double that of the South African legal driving limit.

 

Researchers find ancestral link to Parkinson’s disease

Prof Jonathan Carr


The study, a collaboration between Prof Gerhard Geldenhuys of the Division of Applied Mathematics at the Faculty of Science, and the Divisions of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, and Neurology at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, traced Parkinson’s disease in 12 Afrikaans families back to a specific couple of Dutch and German ancestry that settled in the Cape in the 1600s.

Other disorders such as Huntington’s disease and schizophrenia have previously been linked to specific Afrikaner genealogies, but this is the first time that Parkinson’s disease was linked to this group.

Afrikaner patients, which made up about a third of the 192 Parkinson’s participants in the study (initiated in 2009), were selected for further genealogical analysis on the basis of having a young age (under 60 years) at onset of Parkinson’s disease, as that is often predictive of a genetic component being the cause of Parkinson’s. These families were also characterised by having two or more family members with Parkinson’s.

By early 2013, 48 Afrikaner families had been investigated, and in most cases the ancestors could be traced back for at least eight generations.
After family trees were constructed, it emerged from detailed study of the first 12 families that all the families were linked to a single ancestral couple. The couple were married in South Africa in 1668. The man originated from the Netherlands and his wife from Germany.

In 40 of the Parkinson’s probands, at least one line of descent linked them to the ancestral couple – suggesting strong evidence that the couple could be the founder or originator of the disease in South Africa.

The remaining eight families were not able to provide information to trace their ancestry back for more than three or four generations. In 40 families there were two or more family members with Parkinson’s.

According to one of the study authors, Prof Jonathan Carr, head of the Division of Neurology, Afrikaners will need to be assessed carefully with accurate biomarkers which are currently being developed for the identification of early Parkinson’s. Hopefully, when effective treatments are available, those at risk for the development of the illness should be given priority.
 

 

Combined therapy improves smoking cessation rates

 

Prof Elvis Irusen


Combining the smoking cessation medication varenicline (branded in South Africa as Chantix) with nicotine replacement therapy was more effective than varenicline alone at achieving tobacco abstinence at six months, according to a Stellenbosch University study published in the July 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The combination of behavioural approaches and pharmacotherapy are of proven benefit in assisting smokers to quit. Combining nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) with varenicline has been a suggested treatment to improve smoking abstinence, but its effectiveness is uncertain, according to background information in the article.

Dr. Coenraad Koegelenberg, Prof. Elvis Irusen and colleagues at the FMHS’ Division of Pulmonoly, randomly assigned 446 generally healthy smokers to nicotine or placebo patch treatment two weeks before a target quit date (TQD) and continued for an additional 12 weeks. Varenicline was begun one week prior to TQD, continued for a further 12 weeks, and tapered off during week 13. The study was conducted in seven centres in South Africa from April 2011 to October 2012; 435 participants were included in the efficacy and safety analyses.

The researchers found that participants who received active NRT and varenicline were more likely to achieve continuous abstinence from smoking (confirmed by exhaled carbon monoxide measurements) at 12 weeks (55.4 percent vs 40.9 percent) and 24 weeks (49.0 percent vs 32.6 percent) and point prevalence abstinence (a measure of abstinence based on behavior at a particular point in time) at six months (65.1 percent vs 46.7 percent) than those receiving placebo NRT and varenicline.  

In the combination treatment group, there was more nausea, sleep disturbance, skin reactions, constipation, and depression reported, with only skin reactions reaching statistical significance (14.4 percent vs 7.8 percent); the varenicline-alone group experienced more abnormal dreams and headaches.
“In this study, to our knowledge the largest study to date examining the efficacy and safety of supplementing varenicline treatment with NRT, we have found the combination treatment to be associated with a statistically significant and clinically important higher continuous abstinence rate at 12 and 24 weeks, as well as a higher point prevalence abstinence rate at 6 months,” the authors wrote.

They added that further studies are needed to assess long-term efficacy and safety.
 

 

Students petition for safe working hours


Medical students at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences are part of a group of interns and community service doctors petitioning the Minister of Health to reduce the working hours of junior doctors that can currently stretch up to 36 hours.

“South African interns and community service doctors are working continuous shifts, commonly of 28 hours but sometimes up to 36 hours, with no or little rest. The result is an increase in medical errors which can harm or lead to the death of patients,” reads the mission statement of the Safe Working Hours Campaign.

Research shows that after being awake for 24 hours, a person’s cognitive psychomotor performance decreases to a level similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol level double that of the South African legal driving limit.

The group argues that exhausted doctors are a danger to themselves and their patients. “Stringent procedures are in place to limit the working hours in professions such as aviation and commercial drivers to ensure the safety of travellers. The same safety standards should be applied to the medical profession,” reads the statement.

The campaign is calling for Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to limit the maximum duration of a shift for a junior doctor to 24 hours and to stop the practice where interns work overtime hours not stipulated in their contracts.

The Safe Working Hours campaigners elaborated: “We understand that South Africa is facing a critical staff shortage, but we are questioning the way in which health systems deal with this. The situation of interns flip-flops between that of trainee and vulnerable employee, as is convenient for hospital administrations and the department of health.  

“Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences prides itself on training graduates that are scholars and health advocates – and this campaign is the logical outflow of this output.  The evidence is unambiguous – working more than 24 hours continuously leads to poor performance and increased medical error.  Some institutions have adapted call rosters which use shorter, more frequent shifts in order to maximise the value of man-hours and improve patient safety.  We accept the fact that there are too few doctors, but we contend that the current solution is maladaptive and in need of serious scrutiny.

“The Safe Working Hours Campaign is a call to action to review the concept of continuous shift work on which so much of our medical infrastructure is based, and to inform the public that this practise conflicts with the best available evidence and violates patients’ rights to a safe environment.”

To view the petition online visit: http://tiny.cc/safeworkinghours

Follow the petition on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SafeWorkingHours

Contact the campaigners directly at safejuniordoctors@gmail.com

By: Wilma Stassen and Koot Kotze

 

 

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Celebrating our African Footprint

Participants to the discussion of the faculty's footprint on Africa were, (fltr); Ms Chernelle Lambert, Dr Christoff Pauw, Profs Usuf Chikte, Charles Wiysonge, John Akudugu, Anita Van der Merwe, Dr Fidele Mukinda and Ms Folasade Adeniyi.


Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) celebrated its “footprint” on the African continent during May by showcasing some of its collaborations with other institutions on the continent. It also hosted a lunchtime seminar to celebrate and discuss how to enhance the FMHS’ academic footprint on the African continent.

In his presentation entitled Health research productivity in Africa since the UN Millennium Declaration in 2000, Prof Charles Wiysonge said that Africa, and particularly sub-Saharan Africa, is not doing very well in achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly the health-related MDGs 4, 5 and 6 that respectively aim to reduce child mortality, improve maternal and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

“To achieve the MDGs and other challenges in Africa it requires the availability of high-quality health research,” says Wiysonge, who is with the FMHS’ Centre for Evidence-based Health Care. He argues that although systematic reviews of global research are key to addressing the continent’s health challenges, local evidence is also required to reveal factors such as the needs, values, costs and availability of resources, of these communities.

First steps towards a Cancer Registry in Africa

Representatives of the organising institutions at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Dar Es Salaam, where the workshop was held.

A dedicated childhood cancer registration workshop, which preceded the Société Internationale d'Oncologie Pédiatrique (SIOP) Africa, was held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania during April 2014.  This was organised by Stellenbosch University, in collaboration with IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), AFCRN (African Cancer Registry Network) and AORTIC (African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer).

According to the latest statistics, globally one in five men and one in six women will develop cancer before the age of 75 years and one in eight men and one in twelve women will die from the disease.

There were 847,000 new cancer cases (6% of the world total) and 591,000 deaths (7.2% of the world total) in the 54 countries of Africa in 2012. With the number of annual cancer cases and deaths likely to increase by at least 70% by 2030 it is an urgent need to obtain accurate data.

 

Celebrating our African Footprint

Participants to the discussion of the faculty's footprint on Africa were, (fltr); Ms Chernelle Lambert, Dr Christoff Pauw, Profs Usuf Chikte, Charles Wiysonge, John Akudugu, Anita Van der Merwe, Dr Fidele Mukinda and Ms Folasade Adeniyi.

Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) celebrated its “footprint” on the African continent during May by showcasing some of its collaborations with other institutions on the continent. It also hosted a lunchtime seminar to celebrate and discuss how to enhance the FMHS’ academic footprint on the African continent.

In his presentation entitled Health research productivity in Africa since the UN Millennium Declaration in 2000, Prof Charles Wiysonge said that Africa, and particularly sub-Saharan Africa, is not doing very well in achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly the health-related MDGs 4, 5 and 6 that respectively aim to reduce child mortality, improve maternal and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

“To achieve the MDGs and other challenges in Africa it requires the availability of high-quality health research,” says Wiysonge, who is with the FMHS’ Centre for Evidence-based Health Care. He argues that although systematic reviews of global research are key to addressing the continent’s health challenges, local evidence is also required to reveal factors such as the needs, values, costs and availability of resources, of these communities.

Between 2001 and 2003 only 0.77% of global health research was performed on the African continent, and although that number rose to 0.93% in the period 2008 to 2011, this region, with the highest burden of disease, still only contributes a very small percentage of the health research.

A recent study by Wiysonge showed that research output in Africa was linked to countries’ gross domestic product (GDP). “Countries that are better off economically, tend to put more money into research and their researchers tend to be more productive,” says Wiysonge. Research by Prof Jean Nachega, with the FMHS’ Centre for Infectious Disease, also showed that countries with more public health training institutions had higher research outputs.

Interestingly, English-speaking African countries produced more research than other countries, and research funding was mainly supplied by international donors in Europe and America through collaborations following largely along historical colonial links.

According to Wiysonge, there already exist significant research and development capacity in some parts of Africa, particularly South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, however most collaborations are with institutions in Europe or America, rather than in Africa.

“This underscores the value of increasing collaboration across the African continent to increase and leverage the available expertise to enhance our capacity to ensure that we are not following the agenda of the Western world.

“They might have good intentions, but the health challenges for which they want solutions are not necessarily the health challenges that we have here. While we appreciate North-South collaboration we need to be able to contribute to the debate on what type of research should to be done. And that has to be done through collaboration between researchers at South African and other African institutions,” says Wiysonge.

The goal of the faculty’s week-long focus on its footprint in Africa is to stimulate dialogue and to promote collaboration between institutions on the continent, which will eventually contribute to the realisation of the faculty’s strategic goal of improving health and health care in South Africa, Africa, and beyond.

During the seminar Dr Christoff Pauw, Manager of International Academic Networks at the Postgraduate and International Office of Stellenbosch University, also delivered a presentation on SU and its connections on the African continent.

By: Wilma Stassen

 

First steps towards a Cancer Registry in Africa 

Representatives of the organising institutions at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Dar Es Salaam, where the workshop was held.

A dedicated childhood cancer registration workshop, which preceded the Société Internationale d'Oncologie Pédiatrique (SIOP) Africa, was held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania during April 2014.  This was organised by Stellenbosch University, in collaboration with IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), AFCRN (African Cancer Registry Network) and AORTIC (African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer).

According to the latest statistics, globally one in five men and one in six women will develop cancer before the age of 75 years and one in eight men and one in twelve women will die from the disease.

There were 847,000 new cancer cases (6% of the world total) and 591,000 deaths (7.2% of the world total) in the 54 countries of Africa in 2012. With the number of annual cancer cases and deaths likely to increase by at least 70% by 2030 it is an urgent need to obtain accurate data.  

In order to prevent and plan any measures to curb this exponential increase in the number of cancer, the cancer registration is a vital tool to assess the situation.

Many countries in Africa still do not have a cancer registry and from those which do have a registry, not all of them record data on childhood cancer. The figures presented are estimations but the real situation in Africa is not known and could be even worse than presented.

It is obvious that cancer registration is the first step to identify the total number of cases in each country as well as the type of cancer and the survival.

The cancer registration workshop took place at Golden Tulip Hotel in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.

There were 29 participants from the 14 African countries: Angola, Congo, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Ghana, Zambia, Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa.

Faculty members were represented by IARC – Dr Freddie Bray, the head of cancer information, Dr Max Parkin, the chair of AFCRN, UK),Eric Chokunonga (Zimbabwe Cancer Registry) and Prof Cristina Stefan (Stellenbosch University).

The program was divided over 2 days and covered aspects related to registration with emphasis on childhood cancer registration in Africa.

On the first day the lectures included an overview of the cancer in Africa (Freddie Bray), an overview of childhood cancer in Africa (Cristina Stefan) and the need for cancer registries in Africa (Max Parkin). The participants open forum included presentations from Africa: Cameroon (Yaounde and Baptist Hospitals), Angola and Tanzania.

The following day lectures included types of registries, the role of cancer registration in epidemiology and cancer control, the basic principles of cancer registration, practical approach to establish a cancer registry, estimating cancer incidence and survival, preparation of a cancer report by registries and a series of presentations from Mozambique, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia and Tanzania.

Further plans include an analysis of the patterns of distribution of childhood cancer data presented, further studies on incidence and survival and a follow up workshop next year.

The workshop was sponsored by UICC and NCI.

By: Prof D Cristina Stefan

 

Celebrating our African Footprint

Participants to the discussion of the faculty's footprint on Africa were, (fltr); Ms Chernelle Lambert, Dr Christoff Pauw, Profs Usuf Chikte, Charles Wiysonge, John Akudugu, Anita Van der Merwe, Dr Fidele Mukinda and Ms Folasade Adeniyi.

Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) celebrated its “footprint” on the African continent during May by showcasing some of its collaborations with other institutions on the continent. It also hosted a lunchtime seminar to celebrate and discuss how to enhance the FMHS’ academic footprint on the African continent.

In his presentation entitled Health research productivity in Africa since the UN Millennium Declaration in 2000, Prof Charles Wiysonge said that Africa, and particularly sub-Saharan Africa, is not doing very well in achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly the health-related MDGs 4, 5 and 6 that respectively aim to reduce child mortality, improve maternal and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

“To achieve the MDGs and other challenges in Africa it requires the availability of high-quality health research,” says Wiysonge, who is with the FMHS’ Centre for Evidence-based Health Care. He argues that although systematic reviews of global research are key to addressing the continent’s health challenges, local evidence is also required to reveal factors such as the needs, values, costs and availability of resources, of these communities.

Between 2001 and 2003 only 0.77% of global health research was performed on the African continent, and although that number rose to 0.93% in the period 2008 to 2011, this region, with the highest burden of disease, still only contributes a very small percentage of the health research.

A recent study by Wiysonge showed that research output in Africa was linked to countries’ gross domestic product (GDP). “Countries that are better off economically, tend to put more money into research and their researchers tend to be more productive,” says Wiysonge. Research by Prof Jean Nachega, with the FMHS’ Centre for Infectious Disease, also showed that countries with more public health training institutions had higher research outputs.

Interestingly, English-speaking African countries produced more research than other countries, and research funding was mainly supplied by international donors in Europe and America through collaborations following largely along historical colonial links.

According to Wiysonge, there already exist significant research and development capacity in some parts of Africa, particularly South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, however most collaborations are with institutions in Europe or America, rather than in Africa.

“This underscores the value of increasing collaboration across the African continent to increase and leverage the available expertise to enhance our capacity to ensure that we are not following the agenda of the Western world.

“They might have good intentions, but the health challenges for which they want solutions are not necessarily the health challenges that we have here. While we appreciate North-South collaboration we need to be able to contribute to the debate on what type of research should to be done. And that has to be done through collaboration between researchers at South African and other African institutions,” says Wiysonge.

The goal of the faculty’s week-long focus on its footprint in Africa is to stimulate dialogue and to promote collaboration between institutions on the continent, which will eventually contribute to the realisation of the faculty’s strategic goal of improving health and health care in South Africa, Africa, and beyond.

During the seminar Dr Christoff Pauw, Manager of International Academic Networks at the Postgraduate and International Office of Stellenbosch University, also delivered a presentation on SU and its connections on the African continent.

 

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Understanding substance abuse

Substance abuse has become a part of life in South Africa. Statistics show that about 21% of men and 7% of women will experience alcohol use disorders in their lifetime. The country has one of the highest levels of foetal alcohol syndrome in the world, and about half of all pedestrians and drivers killed on our roads are over the legal limit.

Illicit drug use is also rife. Forty-four percent of drug-related crime in South Africa occurs in the Western Cape, and the per capita ratio for drug-related crime here is four times greater than the national average with nine of the top 10 drug hotspots in the country being in the Western Cape.

Drugs like tik (methamphetamine) appear in the headlines daily and heroin use, both smoking and intravenous, is on the rise. Undoubtedly we have a serious problem with addictive drug use in the Western Cape.

The question we need to ask is why are so many communities in the Western Cape disproportionally affected by addiction?

Drug use is often seen as the cause of broken communities, but it is more likely that the high levels of drug use are the result of people trying to cope with the adversities of daily life that come with low economic status, few employment opportunities and limited community resources which lead to a sense of helplessness and psychosocial dislocation. In the community where I work the majority of people seeking help for addictive drug use come from fractured families, have suffered multiple traumas and have found some sort of refuge in their drug use and the drug lifestyle.

 

 

Understanding substance abuse


Substance abuse has become a part of life in South Africa. Statistics show that about 21% of men and 7% of women will experience alcohol use disorders in their lifetime. The country has one of the highest levels of foetal alcohol syndrome in the world, and about half of all pedestrians and drivers killed on our roads are over the legal limit.

Illicit drug use is also rife. Forty-four percent of drug-related crime in South Africa occurs in the Western Cape, and the per capita ratio for drug-related crime here is four times greater than the national average with nine of the top 10 drug hotspots in the country being in the Western Cape.

Drugs like tik (methamphetamine) appear in the headlines daily and heroin use, both smoking and intravenous, is on the rise. Undoubtedly we have a serious problem with addictive drug use in the Western Cape.

The question we need to ask is why are so many communities in the Western Cape disproportionally affected by addiction?

Drug use is often seen as the cause of broken communities, but it is more likely that the high levels of drug use are the result of people trying to cope with the adversities of daily life that come with low economic status, few employment opportunities and limited community resources which lead to a sense of helplessness and psychosocial dislocation. In the community where I work the majority of people seeking help for addictive drug use come from fractured families, have suffered multiple traumas and have found some sort of refuge in their drug use and the drug lifestyle.

The exact causes of drug addiction are not fully understood, and many of the treatment modalities are outdated and ineffective. Most of the interventions we use have been imported from other countries, and are often untested or even inappropriate for the unique experiences of our local communities. As such we need to encourage research in the local setting and provide training for those working in the communities where addiction is rife. Up until recently, there has been little in the form of formal education around addictive disorders, with even medical students only receiving a few hours of training on the subject. Fortunately things are changing.

In response, institutions such as Stellenbosch University’s Department of Psychiatry recently launched a Post Graduate Diploma in Addiction Care where students are lectured by some of the country’s foremost experts in addiction medicine and interact with other professionals in the field. These courses provide the perfect opportunity for vital debate and questions to be asked, thereby encouraging research.

I believe that we need to look wider than the actions of drugs on the brain to gain a complete understanding of addiction. We need to understand that addiction is often the product of broken communities and we need to develop the political will to alleviate these underlying issues before we will really be able to address the large scale problem of addiction that we are facing.

Having said this, it is essential that we provide the resources to address the individual needs of those who are suffering from drug addictions. The Stellenbosch University Post Graduate Diploma in Addiction Care is an essential component in developing these resources.

Opinion article by Mr Shaun Shelly, the Substance Use Programme Manager at Hope House Counselling Centre, a non-governmental organisation offering free mental health and counselling in underserved communities. He is also a part time lecturer at the Department of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University and author of the addiction information website (www.addictioncapetown.blogspot.com). He wrote the article to mark Substance Abuse Awareness Week, 25 to 30 June.

 

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CanMEDS model trains competent health practitioners

  

The so-called “father” of CanMEDS, Prof Jason Frank, delivered a talk entitled: A health professional is more than a clinical expert: the CanMEDS Competency-based model of speciality training at the Tygerberg campus in June.

Prof Frank, who is based at the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada, discussed the history, rational, evidence and experience of how this competency-based teaching model developed.

“CanMEDS is a contemporary approach to the abilities needed for effective practice,” said Prof Frank.

According to him, traditional education focuses on the process of teaching and once a health professional is certified they are considered to be qualified for life. Conversely the CanMEDS framework is based on competencies and requires graduates to demonstrate their abilities.

Rural Research in the spotlight

The Health Research Day was held at the Worcester Campus of the Stellenbosch University.

Researchers and academics, whose work is based on rural health, showcased their research findings to a wide audience of researchers, academics, non-government organisations and Department of Health managers at the 4th Annual Sustainable Rural Health Research Day. This event was hosted by the Faculty’s Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health in collaboration with Anova Health Institute under the theme “Practice to Research; Research to Practice’ at the Worcester campus during May.

About 130 delegates attended the event, which was the cornerstone of the combined support of the Department of Health, teaching and research institutions, and non-governmental organisations, for health research in the rural areas of the Western Cape.

 

CanMEDS model trains competent health practitioners

  

Prof Jason Frank


The so-called “father” of CanMEDS, Prof Jason Frank, delivered a talk entitled: A health professional is more than a clinical expert: the CanMEDS Competency-based model of speciality training at the Tygerberg campus in June.

Prof Frank, who is based at the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada, discussed the history, rational, evidence and experience of how this competency-based teaching model developed.

“CanMEDS is a contemporary approach to the abilities needed for effective practice,” said Prof Frank.

According to him, traditional education focuses on the process of teaching and once a health professional is certified they are considered to be qualified for life. Conversely the CanMEDS framework is based on competencies and requires graduates to demonstrate their abilities.

The CanMEDS concept grew from complaints by newly-qualified health professionals in Canada to the Royal College about their inability to cope with certain duties assigned to them in this profession – these were not limited to medical abilities and often included things like management and communication skills.

After extensive research and consultation with various stakeholders – from health professionals to patients – they identified seven roles that an effective health care professional has to fulfil, namely that of healthcare practitioner, communicator, collaborator, health advocate, scholar, manager/ leader and professional.

The CanMEDS framework requires graduates to provide proof of at least a minimum standard of competency in each of these domains before they can advance to the next level.

The CanMEDS model has been adopted by 13 other professions and an adapted version is currently being integrated into curricula at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. It has also been implemented to a greater or lesser extent in 30 other countries, including Denmark, Belgium, Australia, and parts of the UK.

By Wilma Stassen

 

Rural Research in the spotlight

Researchers and academics, whose work is based on rural health, showcased their research findings to a wide audience of researchers, academics, non-government organisations and Department of Health managers at the 4th Annual Sustainable Rural Health Research Day. This event was hosted by the Faculty’s Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health in collaboration with Anova Health Institute under the theme “Practice to Research; Research to Practice’ at the Worcester campus during May.

About 130 delegates attended the event, which was the cornerstone of the combined support of the Department of Health, teaching and research institutions, and non-governmental organisations, for health research in the rural areas of the Western Cape.

“We were excited to welcome the presence of our guest speakers Prof. Tarryn Young (Director: Center for Evidence-based Health Care, SU), as well as colleagues from the Western Cape Government: Health Department: Dr. Krish Vallabjee (Chief Director: Strategy and Health Support), Dr. Lizette Phillips (Director of the Cape Winelands District) and Dr. David Pienaar (Senior Public Health Specialist).” said Guin Lourens, Manager of the Ukwanda Clinical Training Platform.

“Dr Vallabjee, the opening keynote speaker, spoke to “Healthcare 2030 and the role of research”, while Dr Lizette Phillips addressed us about the research priorities in the Cape Winelands.”

This year 28 oral presentations were presented and focused on the following areas: education, leadership and management, rural health, women and child health, and rehabilitation. All four Western Cape Higher Education Institutions, namely CPUT, SU, UCT and UWC were well represented, besides the strong contingent from the Western Cape Government  Health and local NGO sector.

“The feedback about the research day was positive and we look forward to providing the opportunity next year for students, academics, researchers and health professionals to engage on rural health research.” Lourens continued.  “We remind all about the National Rural Research Conference to be held at the Worcester campus on 21-24 September 2014.”

www.rudasa.org.za

Prof Bob Mash, (right) Head of the Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care with Dr David Pienaar from Rural District Health Department, Western Cape.
 

On the left is Ms Marvina Johnson with Ms Vicky Major, who presented an oral on Organophosphate exposure of farm workers in the Worcester region.

Prof Cornie Scheffer of the Faculty of Engineering and Dr Frans Krige, manager at the Ukwanda Rural Clinical School.

 

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Mediclinic joins the clinical training platform


Through a pioneering initiative Maties medical students recently started receiving practical training in a private hospital.

A partnership between the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) and Mediclinic Durbanville enabled several fourth-year medical students to do a four-week Internal Medicine rotation at the Mediclinic Durbanville where they were taught by doctors in the private sector. This is part of a pilot project to investigate the functionality of this type of collaboration between the university and private medical institutions.

“Health care is under pressure and there is a great need to increase the amount of doctors and other health care workers. I think a partnership with the private sector is important to  realise the broader vision of universal access to health care,” says Prof Jimmy Volmink, Dean of the Faculty.

Helping children understand heart disease


Dr Philip Herbst with the Division of Cardiology talks to students at a school in Ravensmead about rheumatic heart disease. The division’s SUNheart initiative, together with the British Society of Echocardiography, have launched the “Echo in Africa” project through which 2 000 school children from Ravensmead and Khayelitsha will be screened for signs of early heart disease, particularly rheumatic heart disease, and if necessary receive ongoing treatment for heart conditions at the Tygerberg Hospital.

 

Mediclinic joins the clinical training platform


Through a pioneering initiative Maties medical students recently started receiving practical training in a private hospital.

A partnership between the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) and Mediclinic Durbanville enabled several fourth-year medical students to do a four-week Internal Medicine rotation at the Mediclinic Durbanville where they were taught by doctors in the private sector. This is part of a pilot project to investigate the functionality of this type of collaboration between the university and private medical institutions.

“Health care is under pressure and there is a great need to increase the amount of doctors and other health care workers. I think a partnership with the private sector is important to  realise the broader vision of universal access to health care,” says Prof Jimmy Volmink, Dean of the Faculty.

“The FMHS and the MB,ChB programme committee are very excited about this collaboration with the private sector,” says Prof Ben van Heerden, Director: Centre for Health Professions Education, and coordinator of the MB,ChB (undergraduate medicine) programme. “It doesn’t just offer our students the opportunity to experience an important component of our country’s medical system, it also exposes them to another patient- and disease profile than what is generally seen in the public sector.”

Mediclinic Durbanville and the lecturers involved received special accreditation and all personnel involved attended a teaching and learning short course to ensure they are equipped to train the students.

According to Prof Marietjie de Villiers, Deputy Dean: Education, the feedback from students and lecturers at the Mediclinic Durbanville has been very positive. “Even the patients are welcoming it. They say the student doctors spend a lot more time with them,” says De Villiers.

The project will be evaluated at the end of the year to determine its success and based on these results a decision will be made on the longer term sustainability of the project.

By: Wilma Stassen

 

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Course earns international recognition

Prof Heinrich Klech from the University of Vienna (left) and Dr Lucy Kiessig from J&J in the UK (right) visited the Division of Clinical Pharmacology in April to assess the postgraduate medicine’s development programme for PharmaTrain. With them are Profs Marietjie de Villiers, Deputy Dean: Education, and Bernd Rosenkranz and Heylene Nell from the Division of Clinical Pharmacology.

The Division of Clinical Pharmacology was recently awarded Centre of Excellence status from PharmaTrain for their postgraduate programme in Pharmaceutical Medicine.

This makes it the first medicines development programme outside of Europe to receive accreditation from this esteemed international body.

PharmaTrain is part of a European initiative working on drug development and innovation, and is tasked with implementing reliable standards for high-quality postgraduate education and training in medicines development. Training centres offering courses under the PharmaTrain brand have to undergo quality assessments to ensure it complies with the high standard set by the organisation.

In April this year, two auditors from PharmaTrain visited the Tygerberg campus to assess the programme at the FMHS’ Division of Clinical Pharmacology, and in May it received the PharmaTrain Centre of Excellence status.

Training video well received

 

A tutorial video produced by the FMHS’ Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has been viewed more than half a million times.

The video entitled Laparoscopic sterilisation with the falope ring and filshie clip has been viewed 264 758 times in the year it has been hosted on the website of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and had another 351 152 views in the two years it has been up on YouTube.

“The need for audiovisual training has always been part of our department's teaching policy,” says Bert Schaetzig, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. “Videos are used as part of the training programme and are also available in the medical libraries, not only at the Tygerberg Campus but in part also at the medical schools of other universities.”

 

Course earns international recognition

Prof Heinrich Klech from the University of Vienna (left) and Dr Lucy Kiessig from J&J in the UK (right) visited the Division of Clinical Pharmacology in April to assess the postgraduate medicine’s development programme for PharmaTrain. With them are Profs Marietjie de Villiers, Deputy Dean: Education, and Bernd Rosenkranz and Heylene Nell from the Division of Clinical Pharmacology.

The Division of Clinical Pharmacology was recently awarded Centre of Excellence status from PharmaTrain for their postgraduate programme in Pharmaceutical Medicine.

This makes it the first medicines development programme outside of Europe to receive accreditation from this esteemed international body.

PharmaTrain is part of a European initiative working on drug development and innovation, and is tasked with implementing reliable standards for high-quality postgraduate education and training in medicines development. Training centres offering courses under the PharmaTrain brand have to undergo quality assessments to ensure it complies with the high standard set by the organisation.
In April this year, two auditors from PharmaTrain visited the Tygerberg campus to assess the programme at the FMHS’ Division of Clinical Pharmacology, and in May it received the PharmaTrain Centre of Excellence status.

PharmaTrain is recognised by most pharmaceutical companies, and a qualification obtained from an accredited Centre of Excellence will be recognised internationally.

“For the student it also offers the opportunity to exchange with other course providers, and they can even move from one training institution to the other,” says Prof Bernd Rosenkranz, head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology.
The course covers the complete drug development process from drug discovery to formulation, non-clinical and clinical testing and even regulation and marketing of new products.

“It goes across the board, from where it starts to when the drug gets onto the market, and what you need to do when the drug is on the market,” says Prof Rosenkranz.

The course is based on the PharmaTrain curriculum developed in Europe to adhere to international standards, but also includes elements unique to South Africa, such as drug regulation and marketing directives specific to the country.

Since the Division of Clinical Pharmacology introduced the diploma in 2010, 35 students from all over the country, and even a few from Swaziland, have registered for the course, and seven students have graduated.

“Some students have already found a position in the pharmaceutical industry based on their successful participation in the diploma course,” says Prof Rosenkranz.

Currently the course is presented as a postgraduate diploma, but next year the programme will also be offered as a Masters in Medicines Development degree.

By: Wilma Stassen

 

Training video well received


A tutorial video produced by the FMHS’ Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has been viewed more than half a million times.

The video entitled Laparoscopic sterilisation with the falope ring and filshie clip has been viewed 264 758 times in the year it has been hosted on the website of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and had another 351 152 views in the two years it has been up on YouTube.

“The need for audiovisual training has always been part of our department's teaching policy,” says Bert Schaetzig, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. “Videos are used as part of the training programme and are also available in the medical libraries, not only at the Tygerberg Campus but in part also at the medical schools of other universities.”

The laparoscopic sterilisation video is one of two videos produced by this department that are used on the WHO website, the other one is entitled Termination of pregnancy with the manual vacuum aspirator. This was the second edition of the laparoscopic sterilisation video and was produced in 2012 to replace the first edition produced in 1978 as the methodology of performing a laparoscopic sterilisation has changed slightly with the advent of television monitors and improved equipment for endoscopic surgery.

The demonstration of the instruments and the operative procedure in theatre were performed by Dr Cathy Cluver and colleagues, while Prof Petrus Steyn (then head of the Family Planning Unit) assisted with the scientific aspects and commentary, and Willie Myburgh in the Film and Television Unit looked after the technical aspects.

The Film and Television Unit at the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology has been in existence since 1974 and has made about 30 training films in Afrikaans, English and even German.

The video can be viewed at http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=Sz0WINB66bM&list=PL68EE6D503647EA2F&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DSz0WINB66bM%26list%3DPL68EE6D503647EA2F
Or by searching for the title on YouTube.

By: Wilma Stassen

 

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Cancer researchers receive GAP travel award

Prof Abdool Shaik, Dr Marguerite Morkel and Prof Vikash Sewram

Prof Abdool Shaik and Dr Marguerite Morkel received the GAP Travel Award to attend the Global Academic Programs 2014 Conference which was held in Seoul, Korea. The annual GAP Conference, organised by the MD Anderson Cancer Centre and hosted by the Korea Cancer Center and Yonsei University Health System, provided a forum for faculty from MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and Sister Institutions to develop collaboration and exchange research results and ideas.

Rural health care strengthened through leadership course

Prof Lilian Dudley

Health professionals from the Overberg Rural Health District recently attended a four day training course in coaching principles, a project of the Stellenbosch University Rural Medical Educational Partnership Initiative (SURMEPI).  The aim of this initiative is to enhance skills of medical professionals to equip them to work in current health systems in rural and underserved areas and to strengthen it further.

 

Cancer researchers receive GAP travel award

Prof Abdool Shaik, Dr Marguerite Morkel and Prof Vikash Sewram

Prof Abdool Shaik and Dr Marquerite Morkel received the GAP Travel Award to attend the Global Academic Programs 2014 Conference which was held in Seoul, Korea. The annual GAP Conference, organised by the MD Anderson Cancer Centre and hosted by the Korea Cancer Center and Yonsei University Health System, provided a forum for faculty from MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and Sister Institutions to develop collaboration and exchange research results and ideas.

Prof Shaik, who recently joined the faculty as head of Paediatric Surgery, regards paediatric oncology as first on his list of research interests.   “I have just returned to academia after several years in private practice and this award is a welcome kick-start to an academic career.  I am grateful to the ACI, MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Professor V Sewram and the faculty for this opportunity, he said.

Dr Morkel, who works at the Division of Nuclear Medicine, said that it was a great honour to receive this award and be invited to present her research at a conference of such high quality.  "I would like to thank Prof Sewram and the ACI for this opportuninty. It was encourging to see al the cancer research that is being done the world over and was an enriching experience. As I am in the imaging field, it was also interesting  to see new developments in this field specifically orientated towards cancer research and treatment thereof. I believe the partnership between the ACI and MD Anderson Cancer Centre will go from strength to strength and help to encourage more cancer research coming not only to South Africa, but to the entire African continent."

The Stellenbosch University’s African Cancer Institute (ACI), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the MDACC to bolster international collaboration and research with ACI faculty and to encourage young investigators to pursue interests in cancer research. Research focus areas of the collaboration between the MDACC and ACI are melanoma research, palliative care and early detection.

 

Rural health care strengthened through leadership course

On the photo are at the back from left: Charlyn Goliath, Prof Lilian Dudley, Heather de Beer and Fidele Mukinda with the Health Professionals seated in front.

Health professionals from the Overberg Rural Health District recently attended a four day training course in coaching principles, a project of the Stellenbosch University Rural Medical Educational Partnership Initiative (SURMEPI).  The aim of this initiative is to enhance skills of medical professionals to equip them to work in current health systems in rural and underserved areas and to strengthen it further.

The coaching training is a follow-up on a capacity building initiative that is currently being conducted in the Overberg where health care facility managers are being supported through coaching to strengthen and support leadership and management competencies. “The strengthening of leadership and management competencies is key to the strengthening of the health system.” said Prof Lilian Dudley.

By: Charlyn Goliath

 

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Article selected as best of 2013

Prof Susan van Schalkwyk

The International Journal for Academic Development has selected an article entiteld "Journeys of growth towards the professional learning of academics: understanding the role of educational development" by Prof Susan van Schalkwyk, Drs Hanelie Adendorff, Karin Catell, Mr Francois Cilliers and Ms Nicole Herman as its Article of the Year 2013.

The IJAD Article of the Year 2013 is the article that the committee judged to have best met IJAD’s aims to "enable academic / educational developers in higher education across the world to exchange ideas about practice and extend the theory of educational development, with the goal of improving the quality of higher education internationally.”

National recognition

Prof Rafique Moosa

The head of the Department of Medicine, Prof Rafique Moosa, was appointed to the National Ministerial Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation. He also serves on the Local organising Committee and the Scientific Committee of the World Congress of Nephrology to be held in Cape Town in 2015.

MRC SHIP Funding

The Medical Research Council introduced a new unit, named the Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships Unit (SHIP) in April 2013.  The aim of this initiative is to address South Africa’s major health problems by developing new or improved interventions; and to facilitate multi-institutional partnerships by dedicated funding and project management.

Two research projects at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences recently received MRC SHIP funding. Prof Anneke Hesseling is involved with this project.

The Paediatric TB team at the Desmond Tutu TB Centre (DTTC) received funding for research on MDR-TB prophylaxis in Children, TB-CHAMP.

Prof Maritha Kotze and Dr Karin Baatjes received funding for research on genetic aspects of breast cancer.

 
Prof Anneke Hesseling
Prof Maritha Kotze
Dr Karin Baatjes

 

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Student excellence celebrated

The students who received TSR Honorary Awards for achievement in Academic, Service, Leadership and Sport.

The annual Tygerberg Honorary Awards dinner was once again a prestigious celebration of excellence amongst our students.  At this function, awards are presented to students who excel in an array of fields, including the all-inclusive Honorary Awards, Academic Merit Awards and Best Researcher Awards.

The Tygerberg Honorary Awards are bestowed upon Tygermaties for exceptional achievements and contributions to the Tygerberg campus.  Awards can be awarded in the categories of academics, leadership, culture, service, sport and service in sport.

These are only awarded to truly deserving candidates and not necessarily every year.  Recipients are nominated and a lengthy process is followed which is strictly regulated by the TSR Honorary President and his/her committee comprising of representatives from the various student structures on campus.

Physio students win ‘strapping’ title at Comrades Marathon

From the left: Hesti Steyn, Joleen Heyns, Sheenagh Jordaan, Andrea Damon and Sarah Cawood

Five physiotherapy students at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) won the national "Strapping" title at the Strap for Life competition which formed part of the illustrious Comrades Marathon. It is the second consecutive year that they have won the title.

Strapping is a treatment whereby a patient is "strapped" with therapeutic tape in order to prevent or treat a muscle injury. It is often used for sports injuries and different strapping techniques are applied to treat different ailments. 

 

Student excellence celebrated

The recipients of the Best Young Researcher awards were (fltr) Mr Johann Maartens, Dr Jonas Bovijn and Dr Jean Maritz.
The Honours in Service was presented for the first time to non-TSU members, Petro Keown (left) and Lynette Ohlsson (middle) of the TSR shop received their awards from Victoria van der Schyff, TSR Chairperson, for their selfless service to the TSU year after year.

The annual Tygerberg Honorary Awards dinner was once again a prestigious celebration of excellence amongst our students.  At this function, awards are presented to students who excel in an array of fields, including the all-inclusive Honorary Awards, Academic Merit Awards and Best Researcher Awards.

The Tygerberg Honorary Awards are bestowed upon Tygermaties for exceptional achievements and contributions to the Tygerberg campus.  Awards can be made in the categories of academics, leadership, culture, service, sport and service in sport.

These are only awarded to truly deserving candidates and not necessarily every year.  Recipients are nominated and a lengthy process is followed which is strictly regulated by the TSR Honorary President and his/her committee comprising of representatives from the various student structures on campus.

Applicants are judged on the contribution to Tygerberg specifically. Attributes such as commitment, attitude and pioneering spirits are sought after.  At the end the impact students make on the Tygerberg culture towards the holistic development of Tygermaties is acknowledged.

Tygerberg Honorary Colours 2014 were presented to:
Zahid Badroodien for Leadership
Ludo von Hillegondsberg for Service.   

Academic Honorary Colours were awarded to the following candidates
MB, ChB: Lochna Conradie, Julian Hellig, Chris-Mare Potgieter and Petrunet Zandberg
B Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy: Monique Rall and Nadine Silver
BSc Dietetics: Thandie Hallinan, Annette Louw, Kerry Pilditch, and Michelle Wakelin

The TSU Constitution makes provision for any non-TSU member to receive Honours if the TSR feels the need to.  This year, the Honours in Service was presented for the first time to non-TSU members, Petro Keown and Lynette Ohlsson (TSR Shop) for their selfless service to the TSU year after year.

The Best Young Researcher awards were also presented at this prestigious evening. Awards are made in three categories.   

This year, the winners were Dr Jonas Bovijn, best undergraduate research study 2013, Mr Johann Maartens - best postgraduate research study with a thesis 2013, and Dr Jean Maritz - best structured postgraduate study 2013.

Academic Merit Awards are given to students who achieved top of their class the previous year. These were presented to the following candidates:

MB,ChB: S Richards, SA Mayiji, S Quirke, L Young, S Pretorius, GHI Robertson and C Potgieter
BSc in Physiotherapy: S Eksteen, RL Fisher, M Dreyer and JR Mackenzie
BSc in Dietetics: KI Gossow, M Loftus and KJM Pilditch
B in Occupational Therapy: C Loubser, SR Mohr and E Theron
B in Speech-Language and Hearing: K Wallace, JL Leuvennink and M Rall

By: Noxolo Kubheka
TSR 2013/2014, Secretary, UK, Student Success

 

Physio students win ‘strapping’ title at Comrades Marathon

From the left: Hesti Steyn, Joleen Heyns, Sheenagh Jordaan, Andrea Damon and Sarah Cawood

Five physiotherapy students at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) won the national "Strapping" title at the Strap for Life competition which formed part of the illustrious Comrades Marathon. It is the second consecutive year that they have won the title.

Strapping is a treatment whereby a patient is "strapped" with therapeutic tape in order to prevent or treat a muscle injury. It is often used for sports injuries and different strapping techniques are applied to treat different ailments.  

The Maties Strapping team competed against at least five other university strapping teams in the Strap for Life championship on Friday, 30 May. On Saturday they manned a physio station at the pre-race expo, and on Sunday they provided strapping and other physiotherapy services to runners taking part in the Comrades Marathon.

"This is one of the highlights of the year and only final-year students are allowed to compete," says team member Hesti Steyn, a fourth-year physiotherapy student. "We practice around 12 hours every week and receive training from members of the 2008 Maties Strapping team who also won the competition."

All five members of the current strapping team work for Maties Rugby and Durbell Rugby Club as first aid and pre-game strapping of the players. "The preparation for this competition has made us more confident in our abilities and knowledgeable about which method to apply than a short course attendance could ever have done," says Steyn.

 

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Huis Ubuntu House

New senior res on Tygerberg Campus

Mr Eben Mouton (Director: Business Management), Mr Pieter Kloppers (Director: Centre for Student Structures and Communities) and Prof Jimmy Volmink (dean) unveil the new name.

The new senior residence at the Tygerberg campus was recently named Huis Ubuntu House.

"Ubuntu means humanity and humanness, and refers to how we are interwoven and how our actions influences others – so we have to ensure that the influence we have on others and the environment is positive and constructive," said FHMS dean, Prof Jimmy Volmink, at the official naming.

According to him there is evidence that a name can influence behaviour and he hopes that Huis Ubuntu House will cultivate a sense of community and goodwill among its residents.

"Amazing Race for Health"

Giving first year students a different perspective

The Amazing Race included a visit to the Service Learning Centre and DOTS TB clinic in Avian Park, Worcester.

On the 9th and 14th of May 2014 the first year medical-, physiotherapy- and dietetic students went on The Amazing Race for Health adventure to experience first-hand how the determinants of health impact the lives of individuals, families and communities and to better understand the organisation of the health services. This event forms part of the interdisciplinary Health in Context module. The aim of the Amazing Race for Health is to give students early exposure to the realities of the South African context with the objective of preparing prospective healthcare professionals to better serve rural areas.

 

 

Huis Ubuntu House

The new senior res on Tygerberg Campus


The new senior residence at the Tygerberg campus was recently named Huis Ubuntu House.

"Ubuntu means humanity and humanness, and refers to how we are interwoven and how our actions influences others – so we have to ensure that the influence we have on others and the environment is positive and constructive," said FHMS dean, Prof Jimmy Volmink, at the official naming.

According to him there is evidence that a name can influence behaviour and he hopes that Huis Ubuntu House will cultivate a sense of community and goodwill among its residents.

"We consider Huis Ubuntu House to be a very suitable name for our senior residence – a res on a campus rich in diversity on all levels, where we put people first and where we create an environment where every student and staff member feels comfortable in every part of their being," said Prof Volmink.

"The name is also inclusive in that it contains all three the official languages in the Western Cape Province, Afrikaans, Xhosa and English," said Prof Volmink.

The naming process was approached via a competition where students could submit proposals through an online survey. A total of 49 proposals, with their accompanying motivations, were submitted, and Huis Ubuntu House was put forward twice.

Building of the new residence started in 2012 and students have been living there for the past 18 months. The residence consists of 150 single rooms and also has a recreational area that can accommodate around 200 students.

By: Wilma Stassen

 

"Amazing Race for Health"

Giving first year undergraduate students a different perspective

The Amazing Race included a visit to the Service Learning Centre and DOTS TB clinic in Avian Park, Worcester.

On the 9th and 14th of May 2014 the first year medical-, physiotherapy- and dietetic students went on The Amazing Race for Health adventure to experience first-hand how the determinants of health impact the lives of individuals, families and communities and to better understand the organisation of the health services. This event forms part of the interdisciplinary Health in Context module. The aim of the Amazing Race for Health is to give students early exposure to the realities of the South African context with the objective of preparing prospective healthcare professionals to better serve rural areas.

In the beginning of the academic year the first year class were divided into 39 groups of 10 students each and each group were allocated to a specific site. Students received lectures on the social determinants of health and the functioning of health systems in the broad South African context. Each group then had to research the site they were allocated to in order to prepare them for the visit to their town/community.

The students’ hard work culminated in the big event where they had the opportunity to visit their site and take part in various activities such as joining community care workers on home/community visits; interviewing clients and staff members; visiting local NGO’s; touring health facilities and observing health care professionals to gain a better understanding of the functioning of the facility and the roles of the different professions.

Students reported that the visits to the communities helped them to see “how the different determinants of health affect the health of community members”. By exposing the students to the realities of the social determinants of health and health services in underserved communities the students got the opportunity to integrate and consolidate the theoretical knowledge they gained during the first semester.  The highlight of the day was to visit and interact with community members and to listen to their stories. For many students this was a “life-changing and eye opening experience” and gave them a glimpse of what they can expect in their future as a health care professional. Feedback from some students also suggested that the Amazing Race for Health motivated them to one day return to and work in rural areas.
“The visit was quite eye-opening and made many of the concepts I’d learned in class much more real and easy to identify with.”

“The Amazing Race humbled me and made me want to get involved in the community to better their lives and standards of living.”

“One of the biggest lessons I learnt upon visiting the town was the great need of health care workers in rural/farm areas and of how much change health care workers such as doctors, dieticians and physiotherapists can bring to underserved areas.”

The Amazing Race for Health also helped students to understand the importance of working together in a team to successfully address the needs of communities, to respect and appreciate the role that other health care professionals play and to treat patients holistically.

“In order to achieve holistic health care all professions must work hand in hand. It is a team effort, one profession is not better than the other one.”

“The Amazing Race gave me a new perspective on the caring of patients that is not just about the illness but also the environmental factors and circumstances of the patient.”

“My appreciation for all health practitioners has grown tremendously… I am inspired to be that passionate about my career and devote myself to give my best each and every day.”

The Amazing Race for Health 2014 was a huge success and feedback received from students and other role players were extremely positive. Excerpts from students’ personal reflections demonstrated that this was a valuable learning opportunity and that the Amazing Race for Health truly helped them to put health in context.

“It brought my profession into perspective and changed a part of my life and how I see things and for that I will be grateful for the rest of my life.”

“The Amazing Race has taught me a great deal and has opened my eyes to see the bigger picture in health care. I started to see the importance of our careers and the enormous impact it has on a community.”

“It was a phenomenal experience!”

By: Dr Stefanus Snyman

 

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Staff celebrate Mandela Day

Staff members of the faculty participated in various activities to honour former president Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

Desmond Tutu TB Centre staff members made 'no sew' fleece blankets for the Children's TB Ward at the Brooklyn Chest Hospital and donated toys to the Fikelela Children’s Home in Khayelitsha.

Three KidCru staff members, namely Jackie Crisp, Marietjie Bester en Anita Janse van Rensburg, knitted 225 warm caps for the Labour Ward, to ensure that the new babies’ heads are kept warm.

Student captains provincial netball team

A triumphant Léanie holding the plate for the winners of the second division of the Brutal Fruit Cup

The faculty’s own netball star, Léanie Kleynhans-Cornelissen, a postdoctoral student in Biomedical Sciences, was selected to captain the Southern Stings netball team. The team, comprised of players from Boland, Western Province and South Western Province, participated in the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup during May and June this year. They were the gold medallists of the second division and won the play-off game to upgrade to the first division. They will be participating in the national Spar Championships, to be held in Cape Town in August. We wish Léanie and her team everything of the best for this competition.  

 

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SU Choir receives highest score ever at World Choir Games

When the Stellenbosch University Choir won the category for Spiritual music with the highest score ever to be awarded to a choir at the World Choir Games (98,38%) they were over the moon.

Little did they know that they would soon better their own record by dominating the category for mixed choirs with a score of 99%.

The SU Choir left for Riga, the capital of Latvia, on 6 July to participate in the World Choir Games organised by Interkultur. They also won the third category they participated in, Musica Sacra, with a score of 95,63%. This means they are the world champions in three categories. Watch video.

Read full article by Pia Nänny, published on SU web

 

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Visitors' Book

Kenyatta University, Kenya

The Stellenbosch University Rural Medical Education Partnership Initiative (SURMEPI) hosted visitors from Kenyatta University on the 19 and 20 June 2014. Kenyatta is also a recipient of MEPI funding. Through the MEPI network, SURMEPI has funded several universities in Africa including Kenyatta to conduct scoping /exploratory visits to the FMHS, SU. The objective of the visit was to develop the Family Medicine department, as well as a centre for Health Professionals at Kenyatta University. Several recommendations were made for the collaboration between Kenyatta and Stellenbosch University (SU) including providing technical assistance for faculty development in Family Medicine. Seen on the photo are (fltr) Dr Francisca Ongesha (KU), Prof Lilian Dudley (SU), Prof Marietjie de Villiers (SU), Dr Titus Kahiga (KU), Dr Joseph Mwangi (KU) and Prof Susan van Schalkwyk (SU)

Mie University, Japan

A delegation from Mie University in Japan visited the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in July to explore collaboration between the two institutions. Pictured from left to right are Mr Masaki Ikeda, Mie University Contract Office and Finance Department, Ms Ronel Bester, Strategic Relations Manager FMHS, Dr Hiroki Hori, Mie University Executive Vice President, Prof Nico Gey van Pittius, Deputy Dean: Research FMHS, Dr Atsumasa Uchida, Mie University President, Dr Hiroshi Ehara, Mie University Vice President and Mr Ayumi Okada, Mie University General Affairs Office.

Maastricht University, Netherlands

Prof Geertjan Wesseling (centre back) from the University of Maastricht visited the faculty on 28 July 2014 to investigate the clinical training platform offered by the Stellenbosch University and partner institutions. With him on the photo are (from left) members of the faculty's management team, Mr Eben Mouton (Director: Businees Management), Prof Marietjie de Villiers (Deputy Dean: Education), Dr Therese Fish (Deputy Dean: Community Service and Interaction) and Prof Jimmy Volmink (Dean).

MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA

Representatives from the MD Anderson Cancer Centre visited the African Cancer Institute (ACI) on the 23 July 2014. They attended a seminar, 'Current diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer, which was hosted by the ACI.  From left to right is Dr Shubhra Ghosh (Project Director: Global Programs), Dr Oliver Bogler (Senior Vice-President: Academic Affairs), the guest speaker, Dr Elise Cook (Associate Professor: Clinical Cancer Prevention) and Prof Vikash Sewram, (Director of the ACI).