Third year Medical students presented the findings of their Selectives 02 research studies at a Research Symposium hosted by the School of Nursing and Public Health Medicine on the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine campus.
The 246 students, divided into self-selected groups, conducted their research in selective sites which were their ‘home communities’. Their research was based on the ‘community diagnosis’ made as part of the four-week Selectives 01 block in second year where students formulated a research question.
A wide array of topics reflecting the burden of diseases in South Africa and focusing on community knowledge and perceptions of health issues were studied and presented at the event.
The research involved surveying 100 participants from the local community after ethics approval from the Biomedical Research Ethics Committee (BREC) and gatekeeper permission from the clinics, municipality and the Provincial Department of Health.
Dr Stephen Knight, Public Health Specialist at UKZN and a member of the Selectives Co-ordinating Team, said: ‘As Medical students return “home” for their Selectives, research is conducted in a range of townships, rural communities and towns and urban communities in order to gain a better understanding of what affects their local communities.’
Knight said eight groups were selected to present on the day, with topics including depression, contraception, diarrhoea prevention, teenage pregnancy and drug abuse knowledge beliefs, urinary tract infection, psychosocial behaviour and adherence to hypertension management.
Health Department representative, Dr Aida Tefera, congratulated the students on their presentations. ‘I am really impressed and I would like to be invited when the students present their interventions.’
Public Health Medicine Specialist and co-ordinator of the event, Dr Saajida Mahomed, said: ‘The students have been through the entire process of writing a research protocol, obtaining BREC approval, conducting the research and preparing a scientific poster. All groups performed very well under tight deadlines.’
Mahomed acknowledged the important role of all the supervisors, BREC, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Research and Ethics Committee, eThekwini Municipality Research Ethics Committee, the School of Nursing and Public Health Medicine and the MEPI in supporting the Selectives programme.
Mrs Jonathan was also thanked for her role in ensuring a smooth administrative process of the research.
Paediatric Nephrologist and BREC representative Professor Rajendra Bhimma said he was really impressed by the high quality protocols received from students which BREC had to go through within two weeks.
The top three presentations were:
Group 61, comprising Ms Cheralyn Hewer and Ms Naadhira Saib, who presented on: “Factors Affecting Adherence to Hypertension Management in Urban KZN, June-July 2016”.
Group 76, comprising Ms Jocelynn Norman, Ms Mandi Lategan and Mr Dylan Gouveria, who presented their poster titled: “Knowledge and Perceptions of Depression Among Clinic u=Users in Boksburg, June 2016”.
Group 81, comprising Ms Vuyiseka Vokwana, Ms Neo Makgalo and Ms Realeboga Itumeleng, who presented on: “Young Female Adults’ Knowledge and Perception of Contraceptives in Mamelodi East, Pretoria, 2016”.