‘I am humbled and I hope to use my award profitably,’ said credentialing staff member in Public Health, Mr Themba Ginindza, after he won prizes totalling R60 000 at the College of Health Sciences’ Annual Research Symposium.
Ginindza won first prize for both his Oral and Poster presentations based on his PhD project titled: “The Burden of HPV Infection and HPV-Related Conditions Among Sexually Active Women in the Kingdom of Swaziland: Its Implications During The Era of the HIV Epidemic”.
‘It was a great honour to win two awards which I hope will help me to attend international conferences and share my study findings,’ he said.
The objective of the study presented on his poster was to describe the distribution and trends of VIA-based cervical abnormalities in Swaziland by reviewing records of visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) examinations performed at two main hospitals in Swaziland between 2011 and 2014. The study concluded that the high VIA positivity rates observed may reflect prevalence of cervical abnormalities, in particular, in HIV positive women.
‘VIA is not a robust screening test but it can play a major role in strengthening and expanding the cervical cancer screening prevention programme in resource-limited countries,’ said Ginindza.
The oral presentation looked at how epidemiological data on prevalence, distribution of HPV types and HPV-related conditions are vitally important to reduce the burden of cervical cancer by guiding the introduction of prophylactic vaccines, strengthening the screening programme, promoting the development of cancer registration, and initiating a national cancer prevention and control policy discussion.
He said the main aim of this study was to estimate prevalence and identify associated determinants of hr-HPV, including HIV infection, among reproductive aged women in Swaziland. ‘We concluded that the prevalence of hr-HPV infection is high among sexually active women. HIV was significantly associated with hr-HPV infection,’ he explained.
According to Ginindza, the study has provided essential information about the HIV link with HPV infections which may explain the high incidence. ‘This can contribute to policy development and planning of prevention strategies incorporating HPV infection prevention especially among the youth and HIV infected people,’ he said.
Held at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine campus in Durban, the symposium attracted presenters from across Africa.
The event attracted 100 oral and poster presentations delivered by staff and postgraduate students from across the Schools, Disciplines and affiliated research centres, including international students.
The Symposium Committee received a remarkable 117 submissions for presentation at the two-day event. From this number only a 100 presented; 70 were oral presentations and 30 were posters delivered as three-minute speed presentations.
College Dean of Research and Chair for the Symposium Committee, Professor Moses Chimbari, said the event contributed significantly towards the achievement of College Strategic Goals; student centeredness and excellence, research intense through PhDs and health sciences research leadership.
‘The intention of the Symposium is to coach students on how to write abstracts, prepare and present oral and / or poster presentations; and how to deal with scientific criticism.