September 2009 - SOPH BULLETIN

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					      SOPH BULLETIN
      The School of Public Health (UWC) Staff Newsletter

Starting a Google Group
Following on from Ehi and Debra's Google Group (also
called a Discussion Forum) for Measuring Health and
Disease II in Semester 1, I started one for Qualitative
Research Methods about 3 weeks ago. Ehi and Debra had
sustained theirs over several months, almost all students
had clocked in, some very
                                                                                      Mgaywa Magafu, will receive his MPH
actively, and it was apparent that students enjoyed and                                cum laude! Thesis title: Assessment of
really needed this forum: they were able to clarify                                   health-related quality of life of adult
difficulties, solve problems with lecturers' and each others'                         HAART recipients at Kagera Regional
help, share their own resources, ask questions and chat                               Hospital, Tanzania. Supervisor: Ehi
socially too.                                                                         Igumbor
                                                                             Use the SOPH Staff Bulletin
For 10 days after sending my first invitation, nothing
happened; I sent repeated invitations, and resolved that                     for….
students only use the Discussion Forum when they have
                                                                                      Sharing SOPH Cluster News
problems with their module. I consulted Hilton, was about                             (Research, Academic, Admin.)
to give up, then tried one more time; this time I sent the                            Project Profiles
accompanying message to Google explaining why I was                                   Research Centre on HIV/AIDS
sending to so many people at one time. I think all previous                           Staff/Student News
invitations had been trashed as spam: this one worked.                                Travel and Field Work News
Then Emmanuel Mafoko clocked in, our very active                                      Gossip
student in Botswana, who incidentally joined us through                               Publications
Recognition of Prior Learning and has defied all                                      Research/Awards/Training
expectations of struggling RPL students! Then a few more,                             Resources/News from outside
some using the site, most of them content to just receive                             Housekeeping Announcements
                         contthe communications as emails.

NEWS from the Student Admin office
This is a discussion group for students taking the MPH at SOPH, UWC with Qualitative Research Methods as an elective
in Semester 2 2009. The aim is to discuss problems and issues of interest, to share resources, and to support each other
through the discussions. This is being run very successfully by Lucy Alexander who is currently convening the module .

Congratulations are in order to the following students whose graduation has been approved by Senate Higher Degrees on
12 August (pending certain conditions). They are:

Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health:
Reggis Katsande
Nonqaba Mzana
Nontlantla Zamxaka                                                                                      Contd. below…
So far, I have established an             Masters in Public Health:
introductory page about the module,
                                          Student Name: Hilary Chibiya
sent out a group memorandum after         Thesis title: An exploration of the prevailing perceptions on the
marking the drafts, guiding them to       role and skills of environmental health officers regarding the
common pitfalls and weaknesses; in        prevention of cholera outbreaks in the Lusaka District
addition powerpoint presentations         Supervisor: Prof Uta Lehmann
from Winter School have been
uploaded under Files, as well as a        Student Name: Fasil Taye Gebreselassie
few additional readings; one student      Thesis title: Investigating the compliance with universal
has sent five resources on Grounded       precautions among health care providers in Tikur Anbessa Central
theory to the group too. After            Referral Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
receiving the draft assignments, I         Supervisor: Dr Jon Rohde
uploaded a self-check quiz leading        Co-Supervisor : Dr Brian van Wyk
students to areas of weakness. There
                                          Student Name: Khumbulani Hlongwana
was a good response to that and I         Thesis title: Knowledge, attitude and treatment seeking behaviour
sent the answers a week later.            towards malaria among Bushbuckridge communities, Mpumalanga
                                          Supervisor: Mr Wondwosson Lerebo
The process needs active attention,       Co-Supervisor : Mr Ehimario Igumbor
which is fairly difficult with the
range of tasks that come at us on a       Student Name: Alexis Ntumba
daily basis; however, even after this     Thesis title: Knowledge, attitude and behaviour related to
brief encounter, I can see some           HIV/AIDS of teenagers on contraception in Andara district,
distinct advantages: the Google           Namibia
Group provides a consolidated             Supervisor: Dr Vera Scott
                                          Co-Supervisor : Mr Ehimario Igumbor
forum for this sort of engagement:
not lots of emails scattered across
                                          Student Name: Mary Simasiku
your email accounts; it enables           Thesis title: An exploration of perceived barriers and facilitators
quick collective communication; it        to disclosure of HIV positive results by pregnant women, to their
links the students with each other; it    partners and families
also enables sharing of big                Supervisor: Ms Nikki Schaay
documents e.g. ppts; its flexible, and
there are lots of ways to engage it       Student Name: Blackson Tembo
that I haven't even thought of, I'm       Thesis title: Road traffic accidents in Botswana: a case study of
sure. It is quick to access for most      Chobe District
students, as it does not require entry    Supervisor: Mr Wondwosson Lerebo
into UWC's restricted bandwidth.          Co-Supervisor: Dr Brian van Wyk
There must be other facilities it
                                          Student Name: Moses Zulu
offers, and maybe Debra and Ehi           Thesis title: Psychological, social and information needs of
can share those with us. Since then,      primary care givers of family members living with AIDS in Mansa
Wolde has now started one for the         District, Zambia
HRH Masters students, and we              Supervisor: Dr Brian van Wyk
started to develop a style of using       A special congratulation goes to our student who passed CUM
the site which I think will be helpful.   LAUDE
So thanks to Ehi, who beat the path       Student Name: Mgaywa Magafu (see photo attached)
for us, and hopefully others will         Thesis title: Assessment of health-related quality of life of adult
follow! As a technical exercise, if I     HAART recipients at Kagera Regional Hospital, Tanzania
could set one up with my luddite          Supervisor : Mr Ehimario Igumbor
tendencies, you all can!

Lucy Alexander                            Corinne Carolissen
                                                            PROFILE ON SOPH INITIATIVES
                                                                  AND PROJECTS

        The roots out of which will grow the actual research projects and communications and
policy interventions of the Centre are UWC’s excellent HIV/AIDS
Programme; the work already underway in many faculties, departments,
and units across the university; and the local and global research and
practice partnerships forged over the past years.

       Through these key entry points focusing on the dynamic continuum
from primary prevention through broad-based treatment and care, rather
than through a disease-focused, clinical, or primarily individual-oriented
approach, the Centre will build an African and global centre of excellence for engaged research
and practice in societal initiatives and responses to prevent and mitigate both the incidence and
the impacts of HIV and AIDS.

       The Centre will actively engage communities, schools, the health system, and gender
and social equity advocates in developing, conducting, sharing, and applying research and
teaching. Visiting scholars, students, staff and others will visit the Centre and participate in its
seminars, public events, workshops, and research projects. An annual flagship event will
include participants from UWC, other South African and African research and policy institutions,
our European partners, as well as civil society organizations and selected international partners.

        Fundamentally, the Centre will be and create space and opportunity for creative
collaboration and research, together with its application. In that sense, it is a virtual Centre
which depends on the vision and leadership of its core team and, crucially, the research
community. However, we envisage several strategic investments to help catalyze and maintain
this creative, dynamic vision and interchange and to foster the development and implementation
of major research projects and programmes. These include, among others, the following:
launching a Website for the Centre; Research and Visiting; Seminar and lecture series; Flagship
publications and production; Briefs and Updates on UWC research; Event reports and
productions, including videos, based on the flagship events; A UWC “Beyond The Project”
series, which would be a package of systematic and critical review, analysis, workshop,
publication, and research and policy recommendations linked to promising or controversial
interventions in HIV/AIDS; Training and internship opportunities contributing the Centre vision.
The Centre and UWC’s HIV Programme are also exploring an Internship with the HIV
Programme, funded through the University of Toronto and CIDA, as a key liaison site between
the Research Centre and the HIV Programme.
        We expect the Centre to attract students and researchers. Funding and efficient and
effective co-supervision arrangements will be crucial to ensure that the Centre and Centre-
related trainees are integrated within and across departments
                  Janine Kader attended a            I found that most of these places have
                  National Association of            explored      with     one     or   other
                  Distance Education and             system/programmes, like us who recently
                  Open            Learning,          started the Google groups (very low key
                  (Nadeosa) Conference on            compared to them) They are always trying
                  ‘The changing faces of             to improve communication. Unisa has a
distance education and open learning’. Here          "MyUnisa"; maybe we should look at a
are some of her impressions                          "MyPublic Health". We should however look
                                                     at other things to make the students feel
To me it was mostly on how to improve on             more in class and interacting with one
delivering, and technology that's getting            another and also with conveners.
quite out of hand these days. I was taken
aback to find that these institutions do             The thing I came home with from this
everything they can in their power to push           conference is that Technology is moving
students through, including students to set          fast, it's becoming more advanced everyday
their own pace of study. They make huge              and lots of people are being sold on it. We
allowances for these students and let them           need to move with it, otherwise we and our
get away with enough. I thought maybe we             programme will be left behind. We need to
should look at that to let the odd student slip      move away from the thinking that our
through and just hand in whenever it is              students, because they are in rural areas or
more convenient; our markers are all within          from African countries they will not be able
the building and our marks really only get           to move with us. I agree that few of them
submitted towards the end of the year. For           have not moved with the times and still have
this semester, for example, I had two                difficulty in accessing internet and email, but
students who are dropping modules                    it's really only a small percentage; we
because they are just not ready. What is             should maybe look at doing a survey again
really wrong in giving them an extra month?          with regards to this and see where our
I'm not saying we should give this option to         students stand with technology. I discovered
all our students but on an individual basis,         that the students we have in places like the
obviously informing the marker and saying,           Eastern Cape are more stranded than those
you can expect one or two assignments this           out in the African countries.
and that time. If we get more students
through, then I am all for it.                       Janine

NEW STAFF Welcome Busi!
                              Dr. Busisiwe (Busi) Nkosi, B.Paed, BA (Hons), MA, PhD

                              Busi joins us from the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS
                              Research Division (HEARD), UKZN. She is currently working
                              with Uta Lehmann on the following projects:

                                “Evaluation of the training of home community based
                                   carers within the expanded public works program
                                   (EPWP). This is an evaluation study commissioned by
       the Provincial Government of the Western Cape, Department of Health.
      “Improving quality of lay community health workers (CHW) Programs for delivery
       of HIV/AIDS services”. The objective of the study is to develop monitoring and
       evaluation tools for the national CHW„s policy framework.

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